FINITRIBE Mind My Make-Up (Infectious)

FINITRIBE Sleazy Listening (Infectious)

Finitribe seem to have been around forever, having apparently been in the vanguard of both the acid house and Balearic movements. Unfortunately, unless the next trend in dance music is of the order of rumbling bass, stream-of-consciousness lyrics and minimal tune support, I can’t see "Mind My Make-Up" making the Finis more famous that anything else they’ve released during the last fourteen years has, irrespective of how many exclusive Dust Junkys remixes it may contain.

"Sleazy Listening", their latest album, doesn’t improve on the rather minimal blueprint possessed by "Mind My Make-Up", unfortunately. A sticker on the front of the case rather disingenuously quotes The Scotsman in saying "If Finitribe lived and worked in Bristol they would have won the Mercury Music Prize by now", which smacks not a little of bunker mentality. (Finitribe are from Edinburgh, you may not be surprised to learn.)

As far as I’m concerned, if Finitribe didn’t make lengthy, tune-free pseudo-concept albums about how, like, cities are scary places (a genre already done to death by Sabres Of Paradise’s "Haunted Dancehall", David Holmes’ "Let’s Get Killed" and Lionrock’s "City Delirious"), stopped plastering their work with subtle-as-a-flying-sledgehammer cinema references (the dialogue samples that crop up every now and then, tracks called "The Shining", "The Oxbow Incident" and "Theme") and abandoned all pretences of trying to play Massive Attack/Portishead-style trip hop, they might have won the Mercury Music Prize by now. As it is, "Sleazy Listening" is a detached, uninvolving way to spend 70 minutes, all technique and effect, with no heart and soul at its core (not unlike the last Orb album, come to think of it). The best thing here is a cover of Scott Walker’s "The Electrician", which works because his best music was always a demonstration of intellect over emotion - and even that sounds worryingly like an Ultravox or Visage b-side. All told, an unexpectedly ungroovy treat.