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Echoboy
GIRAFFE
(MUTE)

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Richard Warren ó a multi-talented chameleon from Nottingham who goes by the nom de electronica Echoboy ó is one of those rare knob twiddlers who seems comfortable on both sides of the techno/organic divide. Indeed, heís probably best known for having turned down an offer to join the flagging Gallagher brothers on the stormy seas of Oasis because, like Fatboy Slim, he got his start playing guitar, and he fronted the critically acclaimed but commercially doomed Hybrids up through 1998. Since then, heís been mixing and matching digital loops and sampling with the more familiar sounds of rockist guitars, bass, and drums.

The techno-industrial results on Giraffe fall somewhere in among the post-Pigface Bowie-isms of Chris Connelly, the hooked-up rantings of Trent Reznorís Nine Inch Nails, and the quirkier pop experiments of Fad Gadget and Kraftwerk. More than anything, though, the disc appears to be a descendant of U2ís brief encounter with the digital demands of DJ culture on their Zooropa and Pop albums. The haunting tenor here is certainly at odds with the light-hearted title, as are the corrosive beeps, mumbling voices, neo-house rhythms, and serrated guitars that Warren favors. The presence of long-time U2 producer Flood ó who was on board for both Zooropa and Pop ó is felt most when Warren delivers a stream of non-sequiturs against a backdrop of "Numb"-style spectral tones on "Donít Destroy Me," "Comfort of the Hum," and "Summer Rhythm." And though he also brings some of his keen pop sensibilities to the party, "Lately Lonely" and the witty "Good on TV" offer a blend of disco, pop, and post-punk guitars in a way that complements his Echoboy persona rather than overshadowing it.

BY RICHARD BYRNE

Issue Date: March 13 - 20, 2003
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