Modeselektor – ‘Monkeytown’ (Monkeytown Records)

If you’re expecting to be greeted by big bunches of bananas when entering German duo Modeselektor’s third album Monkey Town, then think again. There’s not so much as a whiff of the phallic yellow fruit inside this record, with the only nod to the ape world being the grinning pre-homosapien on the cover. Instead ready your ears for a full on electronic cage rattling.

Monkey Town follows in the massive, bass filled booty-steps of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary’s Hello Mom! and Happy Birthday – but don’t fall for these throw away titles and goofy covers (the latter featured the pair as mother and child in a scene more Monty Python than Bpitch ‘techno’). The ‘look’ these two purvey cleverly and deliberately belies the monolithic club cuts they wield. Modeselektor may be rubber faced funny men who adore a drink as much as they do their IDM, but underneath these wry grins lies a serious love of well built electronics large enough to make buildings shake.

The release of Monkey Town sees these perennial outsiders with their claws firmly round the jugular of serious mainstream appeal. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke may be a long term fan and collaborator (he features on two songs here – Shipwreck and the showstopping This) but it’s only following extensive touring and Djing that the rest of the world has caught up with their off kilter take on digi-dance – 2005 just wasn’t ready for the blistering euro-crunk of Dancing Box which opened their debut Hello Mom!

So where does 2011 find the pair? Arguably at their most accessible, yet without sacrificing any of their schooling in Berlin’s digital underbelly. It’s this exposure to carefree innovation that made them and, thankfully, they haven’t forgotten the wirey, raw teats they were weaned on.

Blue Clouds welcomes you to their sturdy simian disco, not with a shake of the hand of but with juddering, cataclysmic synthesisers covered in glitch marks. But it sets the tone for eleven tracks which show the pair now have as much beauty within them as brawn.

Evil Twin is the younger sibling to Kill Bill Vol. 4 from Hello Mom! And is equally as vicious, featuring a jackboot wearing robot smashing up dense blocks of dance floor concrete against it’s brains until it pops. Berlin, named after the pair’s home, utilises huge slabs of jarring p-funk, albeit smothered in the creamy vocals of Miss Platnum, to stomp its message across. Her creamy tones resemble a silk tarpaulin adorning a digital tank which lopes ever forward, crushing everything in its path. German Clap has all the rolling, garage hall marks of piece of classic Night Slugs slab while This and War, featuring Yorke and Apparat’s Sascha Ring provide an emotional climax to a record brimming with it. Modeselektor are back and on the brink of even greater success – but that wildness is still in them…

Jim Ottewill

‘Monkeytown’ will be released in the UK on Monday 3rd October via Monkeytown Records. Check out full details of Modeselektor’s upcoming exclusive London show here.

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