Da Blog

Pepe Deluxe – Phantom Cabinet Vol. 1 – Shaun’s Review

5/5 Wizard Hats

Yes, I LOVED this album!

Pepe Deluxé is a Finnish electronic music oriented band, formed in 1996 by DJ Slow (Vellu Maurola) JA-Jazz (Tomi Castrén, formerly Paajanen) and James Spectrum (Jari Salo) in Helsinki, Finland.

How to describe this album? Well, you can tell there’s a lot of love and thought behind it, something like 9 years in the making, I believe. Stylistically, it switches gears through almost circus-like anthems to quiet atmospheric moments, through to lavish musical-style stories. Parts sound like Bond themes, and the vocals are amazing.

Parts remind me of early Moby, there’s the craziness of Cardiacs, the big beat dance sounds of the 2000s, then you’re suddenly into electronica (think Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog), then you’re in the ghetto. There are echoes of 70s progressive rock in places, dub reggae in others. Eastern sounds and performances hark back to Siouxsie and the Banshees. But throughout the album, the sound is coherent, underpinned with big beat drums, delicious bongos, funky synths and basslines, all encapsulated in a plethora of extremely well-crafted songs. Sommarland is my favourite track, it’s just so happy, with that jaunty whistle in the background, you can’t help smiling when you hear it.

But to rely on comparison is to do the album an injustice, as there is more originality here than in a thousand hours of anything else I’ve heard recently. Phantom Cabinet Vol. 1 is a tour de force in music. I really hope there’s a Vol. 2.


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