Rafter Sex, Death, Cassette

Californian Rafter Roberts has taken a break from recording commercial soundtracks and helping some very high profile friends in the studio (Fiery Furnaces, Sufjan Stevens) to put out his third record. Sex, Death, Cassette is an album whose title pretty much covers what it’s all about. Rafter starts with cheeky two-minute pop songs, throws on a whole bunch of synths, pedals and beats, and lets his idiosyncrasies do the rest. "Breathing Room” balances a "Fuck you, the sky!” refrain with a majestic hook lifted straight from the theme music of some tacky carnival ride. Then there’s "No-one Home Ever,” a bouncy, heart-on-sleeve testimonial that details both how Rafter was conceived and how he will die. This is pretty representative of the album, and while most of the songs may be no more than endearingly wacky lo-fi sketches, they’re expertly fleshed out and fully realised. Some will be immediately turned off by Rafter’s shenanigans, but those who aren’t will find much to like. (Asthmatic Kitty)