artist: Tiny Desk Unit
label: 91/2 x 16” Records
personnel: Susan Mumford (vocal), Michael Barron (guitar), Bob Boilen (synth), Terry Baker (bass), Lorenzo Jones (drums)
tracklisting: take me to paris, napping in japan, standing there, couscous
major players in the States’ other notable synthpunk scene (i.e. in and around Washington DC), TDU’s peculiar art has remained curiously and criminally absent from the reissues’ list.
more structured and relaxed than their eponymous debut (live) album, ‘Naples’ sees TDU on top form. the semi-tonal, new wavey vocals of Susan Mumford are offset by a tight, fluid and genuinely funky rhythm section to great effect. meanwhile, synth player Bob Boilen (?!) squeaks, gurgles, drones and bleeps his way through the EP’s four tracks a la Pere Ubu, leaving Michael Barron’s angular guitar work to positively shine. of all the tracks, it is perhaps the cool opener ‘Take me to Paris’, that successfully crams the most in.
along with being proclaimed as having one of the best band names ever, Tiny Desk Unit really should have more than just a mere footnote in the history of the American alternative scene.
erik - www.cultwithnoname.com