Somnambule - Writing About Music

Normal Position ~ Rave Killed The Romance

Normal Position – not Chrome, not Metal – if we’re talking ferric tape quality that is. Any bearing on the music? Who knows. With a title like ‘Rave Killed The Romance’ perhaps this is going to be a guitar-driven diatribe against the evils of electronic music... instead ‘Ashtray’ begins with a vocoder’ed spoken word intro:

“If you’re asking how my lovelife is
I will be replying
There’s a toilet roll hidden in my room
I use it for wanking and crying”

I didn’t want to know that, but thanks anyway (I was brought up to be polite). It’s followed by a sort of cello and violins ditty that surfs along on a tsch-tsch drum machine rhythm with the vocoder returning to intone ‘wanking and crying’ mournfully every so often. To be honest it’s pretty funny.

‘Shorthaus’ is short... which I guess is the point. ‘Up Your Bum’ (if you say so) tootles along on a modern day equivalent of a steam-organ accompanied in a companionable sort of a way by a slightly out of tune guitar and lots of la-la-la’s. ‘Normal Positions’ goes through various electronic motions before being pulled to a halt by someone yelling ”CARROTS AND PEAS” in a slightly threatening manner - make of that what you will. ‘Gobby’ sounds like a good natured lab experiment where Blondie’s ‘The Tide Is High’ has been mated with a Penguin Café Orchestra outtake. ‘Koi Koi Phipps’ lets up on the jollity for a rather lovely introspective couple of minutes. ‘It Used To Be So Nice’ and ‘Snot On Your Kickers’ takes this mood and makes a dash for it. Final track ‘Pots of Spank’ returns to initial ruminations by exhorting listeners to “get spanking, stop wanking”. Rhythms throughout are poppy and jaunty in a tsch-tschak-tschi-tschi sort of a way - quite a lot of effort seems to have gone into the rhythm programming, though relatively little into the drum sounds, presets appear to be the order of the day.

The first half of ‘Rave Killed The Romance’ appears to drop snugly (perhaps with a little plopping sound) into the category of cartoon synthi-pop, it seems light and fluffy like candyfloss though with a bit of grass still stuck to it from when you weren’t holding it properly and dropped it on the ground. As the album progresses however Normal Position manage, at least partially, to expand their template and wrongfoot expectations. Worth a listen.

Colin Buttimer
March 2004
Published by Absorb