Von Südenfed Tromatic Reflexxions

The 2004 collaboration between Mouse On Mars and the Fall’s Mark E. Smith apparently wasn’t a one-off to produce the rather awesome "Wipe That Sound/Cut the Gain” twelve-inch but a bid to lay the groundwork for Von Südenfed. A full-on band, it’s tough to decide which is more surprising: the fact that Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner can toss aside their avant electronic calling cards so easily or that Smith sounds like he’s genuinely having a ball. From the get-go, Tromatic Reflexxions has garnered comparisons to LCD Soundsystem, which makes sense but feels a little too ironic. For some of it, Toma and St. Werner raid the contemporary club scene’s post-punk-fuelled electro, to Smith’s liking, over which he rambles on in both humorous and fashionable prose, thus in turn coming awful close to James Murphy’s shtick. But let’s give credit where it’s due: Smith is no doubt the originator here and while "Fledermaus Can’t Get It” spirals like "Losing My Edge” it’s doubtful Smith would ever take a page from such a die-hard Fall fan as Murphy. That said, Tromatic Reflexxions is far from the digestible portions of Sound of Silver<. "Flooded” and "Serious Brainskin” somehow manage to successfully sneak in strident grime for Smith to spit over, while "Chicken Yiamas” deranges country music to create a psychotic hoedown. To appease early fans, they’ve included "That Sound Wiped,” a slight reworking of their initial neo-disco partnership. Von Südenfed emerge as the wonky collaboration everyone would expect and needless to say, easily trumps the Fall’s latest and even most of the mid-’90s output that drummed to a similar dance beat. Hopefully this is the first example of what will be some long-standing group work. (Domino, www.dominorecordco.us) Cam Lindsay (Domino)