Tainted Lunch is an electronic pop album that consistently mixes opposites together into one entertaining whole. It's slapstick and serious at the same time. The title (I assume, anyway) is a riff on a the popular Soft Cell song from the 80s (which was also coincidentally creepily covered by Coil) and Matthew Patterson Curry isn't afraid to base lyrics on a serious and somewhat desperate poem by Arthur Rimbaud and yet title the track "I Am The Cheese." The album is a collision of ideas and sounds, yet it's easily one of the more entertaining releases that I've heard this year.
Curry dropped his debut full length Parts Water on Plug Research several years back and went tag team style with Kit Clayton on the scatterbrained Ping Pong EP on Carpark Records, and Tainted Lunch finds him jumping labels once again, landing on Stephan Betke's ~Scape label. The difference between the two albums is pretty large, as Curry has not only moved in a much more pop direction with his instrumentation, but by including vocals on every track as well (and getting more comfortable and better with his voice as well in that time).
The result is something that slightly resembles his past work (some slighty dub/microhouse influences), but also obviously steps out in new and much more accessible ways. At ten tracks and almost exactly forty minutes in length, Tainted Lunch feels like a true pop album. The aforementioned "I Am The Cheese" opens the album with rubbery basslines, spluttery beats, minimal synth melodies and surreal lyrics while "Sunlight On The Other Side" locks into a slippery electro funk as Curry adds some varied, delightful vocal melodies that hint at the Magnetic Fields more than minimal techno.
Blevin Blechdom (who added some hiccups and vocalisms to Parts Water) teams up with Curry on a couple tracks, and they're at the same time the most over-the-top and infectious tracks on the release. "Fly In My Soup" is a completely bizarre techy-shuffle back and forth between the two vocalists and "After Disaster" swirls chopped-up banjo and beefed-up casio beats behind hilariously delirious vocal treatments from the duo.
"Here Comes The Housewifes" is easily one of the best tracks on the release, clocking in at under three minutes and packing quick synth stabs and punchy beats in behind the soft vocals of Curry. "Where Is Germany And How Do I Get There?" may inadvertantly reveal the whole feel of the album with its title alone. Curry split time between San Francisco and Berlin while completing the album (with help from Vladislav Delay on the production), but while his album has some of the musical flourishes that German artists have cultivated in the past couple years, it also has a loose, lighthearted style that blends sharp production with a keen sense of humour and an ear for melody. Easily one of the best electronic pop albums I've heard this year.