Modeselektor (Berliners Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) return with their third full length LP Monkeytown. Their back catalogue wavers greatly in terms of style and quality and this album continues along a similar route. The ‘everything and anything’ approach to music the duo have adopted is a testament to their diversity but inevitably results in some ludicrous tracks. However, this also means that Monkeytown has something for everyone.
Thom Yorke appears twice on the album, on tracks ‘Shipwreck’ and ‘This’. Aside from lending Modeselektor his unique voice he also played an integral part in the production of the two songs, a fact that becomes more obvious after each listen. Both tracks are sharp and deeply layered, giving them a certain shadowy edge over some of the more playful songs that Monkeytown has to offer.
While this record can get sinister in parts, it’s the sportive nature of Bronsert & Szary that shines through here. Whether they’re exploring the wobbly side of techno with Otto Von Schirach or dealing in Busdriver’s comedic breaks, Modeselektor are keeping things refreshingly jovial. Having emerged from the abrasive German techno scene, it’s rather surprising that the duo have managed to adopt such a colourful take on dance music. Even more surprising still is their collaboration with Miss Platnum on ‘Berlin’, the album’s only R&B venture. Though this only serves to highlight it. Platinum’s vocals wash over the fat bass and glitch undertones beautifully, making ‘Berlin’ one of the unexpected treats here.
Monkeytown never really takes itself seriously, yet it somehow manages to flaunt a sizeable amount of reputable tracks. It is hugely varying, perhaps too varying for some. Greatly differing genres are placed side by side. They’re blended and bastardised into unidentifiable territory, in true Modeselektor style. Monkeytown can safely join the ranks with Hello Mom! and Happy Birthday! as the absurd younger brother of the discography.