EAT STATIC The Alien E.P.s (Mesmobeat)

EAT STATIC Decadance (Mesmobeat)

Eat Static began as Ozric Tentacles' techno offshoot but soon became a full time concern for members Merv Pepler, Joie Hinton and Steve Everitt. These two albums contain three of their early limited edition EPs (now released for the first time on CD, along with a bonus track "Alien") and a decade's worth of rare and previously unreleased outtakes respectively. It's all highly competent, pummelling, acid-strewn dance music, with the "Decadance" material gaining points for its frequent Aphex Twin-style detours into squidgy strangeness, but equally seems to lack that special sparkle that makes such music great, be it Orbital's hymnal melodic gifts, the Brothers Chemical's rabble rousing abilities or Derrick May's gymnastic, elastic programming skills. Whatever it may be, these two CDs are left sounding quaintly old-fashioned to ears attuned to late 90s dance music, although undoubtedly essential purchases for Eat Static enthusiasts.

EAT STATIC Prepare Your Spirit (Mesmobeat)

EAT STATIC Mondo A Go-Go! (Mesmobeat)

Eat Static started life as Ozric Tentacles' techno offshoot: now, nearly ten years later, they're regarded as an important act in their own right. "Prepare Your Spirit" is a double CD reissue of their 1992 cassette-only debut release. Never before commercially available, it arrives dressed in new cover art and garnished with four extra tracks.

Which if you're an Eat Static enthusiast is undoubtedly something of an event. To me, "Prepare Your Spirit" sounds much like Moby - not today's coffee-table companion Moby, of course, but the Moby who threw together abrasive, brutal dancefloor techno thrashes. Not a bad thing, but there's something about "Prepare Your Spirit" that - grab-bag of familiar samples that it contains apart - prevents the content from settling comfortably in the mind. It's at its not inconsiderable best on the lush, Orbitalesque symphonics and rolling melodies of "Almost Human", but listened to eight years on to a non-obsessive it serves mainly as a welcome pointer to the greater things to come.

"Mondo A Go-Go!" is their latest single, extracted from their critically acclaimed new long player "Crash And Burn". It's billed as a tongue-in-cheek Latino track, which the band reckon "should have been the theme from Austin Powers". Fortunately for right-thinking, music-loving cinemagoers the world over it wasn't, because it's a teeth-itchingly irritating novelty techno thing. Whilst The KLF and, to a lesser extent, Dope Smugglaz can walk the tricky line between comedy and credibility with some skill, here Eat Static just lambada it into the ground, plastered in cheesy grins. The other two tracks are better, fortunately: "Bondo Mondage" sounds like a trussed-up Aphex Twin being forced at gunpoint to produce something with a tune, whilst the more relaxed and expansive "Wall Banger" summons up celebrity assistance in the form of Propellerheads DJ Will White.

EAT STATIC In The Nude! (Mesmobeat)

The latest album from Eat Static, the band that began as Ozric Tentacles' techno offshoot before assuming a life of its own, breezes in on the refreshing Tropicalia blast of "Salon Kitty", a melodic confection of salsa, synths and surface noise. There are further twists and turns such as the dense, orchestral-sounding "Follow That Camel!", and the looped drums and squealing heavy metal guitar that powers "Our Man In Nirvana". But mostly "In The Nude!" still rests on the patented Eat Static backbone of goofy dialogue samples , propulsive beats, vague Eastern mysticism and squidgy analogue noises. Which might well be heaven to the committed Eat Static believer, but to the unconverted merely sounds like the same old tricks being road-tested one more time. Probably marvellous if you're a fan, it sounds more like a crude cut-and-paste collation (much like the awful booklet art) if you're not.