Sophomore album from Cornish Casio obsessive Hedluv and co-rapper Passman suffers, unfortunately, from a degree of self-confessed difficult second album syndrome. Opening track Control Room hops and skips from a chirruping keyboard line over spits and spats of demo-track percussion and random samples, whilst Hedluv and Passman take it in turn to introduce themselves. It suffers from a peculiar lack of fanfare, feeling like a slightly over-stretched skit than a song all of its own.
‘I’d like to welcome you to our difficult second album,’ Passman raps on the synthy opening to Dreckly, this extended intro feels like an awkward prologue to the track itself, which is a generally funny take on the laidback Cornish lifestyle and the titular term (which means “later on”), Hedluv rapping ‘I came from the twentieth centruy, travelling at the speed of time.’ The stripped down instrumentation working to highlight the track’s dry wit, but it unfortunately leaves the song a little lacking overall.
Old Meddler begins with arch sound samples over a jaunty muzak-like melody in a fashion akin to The Avalanches, but once it’s over it’s just a disposable if pleasant minute that flies in one ear and out the other. Casio Riddim finds Hedluv rhyming about his general love his casio keyboard collection over intermittent skittering beats and blips, but, it never comes into its own with the beats muddling about cold and stark.
Immediatley more successful is the silly twiddly joyful clippety-clop of The Future!, with a chorus riffing on Sat Nav directions, it sits alongside the debut record’s H3DLUV – an ode to owning a car in Cornwall – and it helps solidify what makes Hedluv and Passman work best; when their focus shifts onto the mundane and familiar aspects of their life, the duo are fine observational comedians and when they pick a subject that they can mine for all its worth. Whilst the twinkly synth of Hevvy Reppin’ opening with the wonderful line; ‘Oh yeah, eight bar intro, what are you supposed to say?’ suffers from being another somewhat too self-aware track, but benefits from a strong series of ridiculously juvenile sexual couplets from Passman; ‘Tastes like bacon, I’m hot I’m baking, I’m icing your cake-ing.’
It’s followed by the excellent Smokin’, which in its original version used a potentially expensive pop tune as its backing, but the absence of this well known track seems to have forced the boys to strive to craft a light and lively melody of their own. The song is a lovely little ditty about the titular habit and having to stand outside the pub in the cold. Flippers is an equally charming tune, typical of the somewhat innocent imagination steeped in nostalgia (‘I got a gold star once for doggy paddling’) peppered with wonderful little details that are rendered all the more endearing thanks to the wide-eyed, perky melody and twee drum-beat. It has a truly wonderful breakdown about a seal near the end, that entwines itself brilliantly in reprises of the chorus.
Weird Nature is a hymn to watching nature documentaries that swings wildly from its borderline barbershop verses into near happy-hardcore territory on the pogo-inducing choruses with a gurning squidgy bass-line. Sadly it seems content to merely see-saw between the two styles and doesn’t find a particularly satisfying way to wrap itself up, burbling to a somewhat over-stretched and bathotic conclusion. Wot U Kno takes the traditional writerly advice “Write about what you know” as its starting point, Passman crooning with a Muppety croak to his voice on the choruses wonderfully, it’s a fun little track which – like Hevvy Reppin’ – is littered with great lyrics and humourous plays on words. Final track Uncle Ted, like Old Meddler, is a bunch of B-movie samples over a repetitive tune, building towards the inspiration for the album’s title and ending on a deadpan soundbite.
Whilst this record really hits its stride during the mid-section it’s bookended by a number of tracks that feel half-baked or disposable, so as a whole the album is something of a disappointment. However, those tracks that work are strong and as distinctive and original as much of the work on the first LP and firmly cement what made Hedluv + Passman such an exciting discovery a few years back. This LP clearly defines their strengths and weaknesses, but still marks them out as entertaining, imaginative and – most importantly – fun musicians.