Somnambule - Writing About Music

Braun And The Mob ~ As The Veneer Of Dumbness Starts To Fade

A doorbell tinkles impatiently. Footsteps. Door opens and a pitch-shifted male voice drawls “We are here to programme you to take your place in society”. Gunshots. Flatulent melody parps in the ensuing silence accompanied by stop/start rhythm and synth stabs. “If You Don’t Have Da F***! Buy It”. We’re in plastic junkfunk territory, the musical equivalent of the strange stuff it’s possible to buy from Japanese vending machines. An unpleasant voice talks about buying a pound of funk and he’s joined by a sawing, just slightly out of tune violin and female chorus.

There’s something delightfully awful about the name Braun And The Mob. The album title is a skit on Mark Stewart’s As The Veneer Of Democracy Starts To Fade though it’s not clear why that work is targetted, but perhaps its’ because of Stewart’s humourless delivery. As The Veneer... is horrible, nasty and clunky. You wouldn’t want to introduce Braun And The Mob to your mother – they might try to pimp her.

The bass frequently sounds like knicker elastic being twanged. It’s like being trapped in a hard drive with Benny Hill. It’s the sound of a naughty boygirl id emerging into the light of day, grinning inanely and intent on causing trouble. This is nasty funk whose roots can be traced back to Richard D. James’ manic infantilism, to Bootsy Collins and right back to Dada’s wilful plundering of the unconscious. Where that movement’s apparent senselessness mirrored the tragedy of the first world war, conservatism and the bourgeoisie, Braun And The Mob declare “Don’t think, don’t think, be quiet and there you are. This piece of paper is you. Let there be peace, let there be love and let there be unity. And fuck the signal good.” In its merry playground pranksterism, they declare war on the airbrushed pop and self-satisfied consumerism that are multiplying exponentially as you read these words, sleep at night or fart complacently after a Big Mac.
Colin Buttimer
October 2005
Published by Grooves magazine