Ez3kiel Naphtaline

If only the songs were as gorgeous as the artwork surrounding the physical product. A phantasmagoria of Dave McKean-inspired surreal imagery, there is a similar "what?” feel to the many genres heard on this album. Really the work of one man from Tours, France, there are many ideas floating around here but it’s hard to grasp them all in just one sitting. Most are quite beautiful, especially the post-rock-inspired serenity of "Derriere L’Ecran,” but others raise an eyebrow in their "everything and the kitchen sink” approach, like the Eastern European flourishes of the circus-like "Subaphonic.” While most are instrumental, sometimes you get the odd flash of Ez3kiel’s vocals, like on the oddly soulful "At the Day,” or on the supremely weird "Lethal Submission,” where Nosfell Labyala’s operatic voice mixes with a scratchy guitar solo. It’s all a bit mad, and while it doesn’t seem to work entirely there is an obvious eccentric genius at work. (PIAS)