WORLD PARTY Egyptology (Chrysalis)

Five years in the making, Karl Wallinger’s fourth album under the World Party banner is a bitter disappointment. Clearly expecting it to be a work of lasting genius selling more than the six or so copies it eventually shifted, EMI have chosen to plaster their centenary logo all over it (which even "OK Computer" didn’t merit!). Sadly, "Egyptology" (the title, and the cover photos of pyramids and suchlike, presumably being derived from the presence of a track called "Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb") is almost unremittingly awful, Wallinger’s gift for pop genius having curdled to the point where most of the fifteen tracks here sound like Prince demos commercialised by the dread hand of Sir Paul McCartney. And check out the profundity of profound lyricism, for example the opener "It Is Time", which advises "It is time to remember/It is time to forget/It is time to be dry/It is time to be wet". Make your mind up Karl! That’s as good as it gets, sadly.

If you’re bored (and believe me, you will be) why not read the sleevenotes? Because they go like this: "...I really do think that a more reasonable theory as to why we are here, is that we are made up of genetic material from another world somewhere near the belt of Orion...", "Mr and Mrs Bunny are sadly missed...Hi to everyone who makes trousers", "Remember COMPUTERS ARE A CON...a fucking good con but a con all the same.Don’t get the hump-Get the HEMP!". "Mixed in a bucket with a big stick", it says in the booklet, possibly the most jocular reference to the recording process since Mike’s witticisms on the back cover of "Tubular Bells". If only he’d used that big stick a little more productively.