Scritti Politti White Bread Black Beer

Pioneering pop enigma Green Gartside returns to the label he first came to prominence with for this fifth full-length release of a career that has spanned over a quarter century. And, in what ought to come as no surprise to those who have followed Gartside’s varied but always exceptional body of work, the reunion yields a brilliant collection of tracks that each come off sounding close to perfection. Though erroneously regarded by many as a pop footnote of the ’80s, Scritti principal Gartside has remained at the vanguard of pop composition since emerging as an avant-garde art punk in the late ’70s. Among other things, he’s credited with developing and popularising the use of samples and sequencers (at least among other artists) with his groundbreaking album Cupid and Psyche 85. This time out Gartside delves headlong into melodic, minimalist pop with what may be his most accessible release to date. Imagine a more focussed Sufjan Stevens limiting himself to just four or five studio channels and you’ll have an idea of what’s going on in many of these 14 new compositions. Despite his advanced age, Gartside still has the sweet, youthful voice of a 20-something. Lyrically, the artist remains as poetic as ever, balancing well-chosen words and arrangements to lay down crisp, catchy, dance-worthy numbers like "E Eleventh Nuts,” and pop mini-epics like the infectious "Dr. Abernathy” with equal aplomb. (Rough Trade)