SIGNS OF CHAOS Departure (Medcom/Roadrunner)

Continuing Roadrunner’s apparent habit of signing up the stragglers desperately limping after every bandwagon out of Fad City, I give you Signs Of Chaos, the latest project of one Michael Wells, who is apparently the brains behind GTO, Tricky Disco and Technohead, the sort of accomplishments that most folk would probably rather keep quiet about. Mr Wells has clearly decided, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that what the world needs now is another ironic, kitsch loungecore album, for that is what "Departure" is.

Subtitled "Designer Lounge Beats", and featuring photos of generously proportioned comfy sofas and very 70s couples on the cover, Signs Of Chaos seem to be aiming to bridge the stylistic gap between the utility music of Eno’s "Music For Airports" and the knowing, nudge-wink sophistry of Dimitri From Paris. All of which would’ve been quite innovative three or four years ago, but these days is in danger of looking so post-post-modern that it’s heading towards prehistoric.

A further slant on Wells’ tenor can be gained from his booklet notes, which begin: "There are Spiced up boys running wild through the Blurred terminals/These Hilfiger Hooligans are Loaded full of strange chemicals/Showing the Face of their Times/This place is a lost Oasis - a Top Shop - a walk in Play station..." and so on and so, imagery overload! Any idea what he’s trying to say here, people? A few lines later and he’s toppled even further into unintentional farce, banging on about "DJ Wannabe - MC Big Mouth - DJ Nobody...Gaultier Goons...Prada Pussies - Larger (sic) Luvvies...Diesel Dopes". What you could conclude from this rant is that Wells ain’t keen on modern fashion and the people who wear it, has a grudge against trainers, alcohol and Britpop and a deep suspicion of mobile phones, credit cards and holidays in Ibiza and the people who go on them. Or am I missing the point?

So, to transport you from the aforementioned evils of the universe, Signs Of Chaos offer 18 lukewarm four-minute stabs of loungecore, a genre that here sounds like techno reinvented as muzak, all diluted drum ‘n’ bass with restful washes of synths and the occasional outbreak of freeze-dried jazz funk. On to a loser for a kick off since it contravenes the unwritten rule that thou shalt not attempt to make music of a dance persuasion fit into four minute songs (good dance music needs the space and time to evolve and grow; crush it into neat, marketable chunks and you end up choking the life out of it), "Departure" digs an even bigger hole by sampling a Dutch Eurovision winner from the 1950s on "Tender Magic" ("unique and quite brilliant" says the press release...something unprintable say I) and calling songs utter tat like "Cyberjazzin’", "Liquid Lounge" and "Electronic Circuits". Ultimately, "Departure" is a pointless album that might have just about passed muster during the half-hour that loungecore was fashionable but which now looks comically out of date.