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Black Neon - Arts And Crafts

  by Adam Wood

published: 20 / 8 / 2006

Black Neon - Arts And Crafts
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Delightful slab of electro-pop rock recorded in Berlin by Black Neon, the moniker for one-man band Steve Webster

One-man band Steve Webster knew only 17 words of German before he decided to take his Black Neon project all the way to Berlin to record 'Arts and Crafts', a delightful slab of electro-pop rock. ‘Ode to Immer Wieder’ opens the album, a rolling instrumental that pays homage to earlier Brian Eno and the almost choral stylings of 'Trans Europe Express'-era Kraftwerk. But all that ’70s Berliner nonsense stops there, as 'Arts and Crafts' unravels its über pop sensibilities. The stand out track, ‘Ralph and Barbara,’ is a quirky story of one man’s dream to escape Germany and go with his wife to Mexico, played out above the delicate auspices of a backing that owes more to Love and the Beatles than to Bowie or Numan. Webster’s vocals carry off a warm charm not unlike Ben Gibbard on Postal Service duty, only without a crippling inability to communicate to the opposite sex. Despite this, Webster can also exact a Germanic cool on proceedings. ‘The Ghosts’ is a Tiga inspired slice of kitsch upon which Black Neon’s subliminal 80's inspired electronics show their full force. ‘The Truth’ is a threatening, feedback drenched violation of Death in Vegas’ ‘Aisha,’ and in ‘TX81Z’ the bass line thunders agreement with a relentless fuzz box shudder. Black Neon’s record lurches between the demonic and the kooky without seemingly breaking sweat. Despite having been around for over five years and claiming that Black Neon will never play live again, Webster has only just begun to hit all the right notes. 'Arts and Crafts' is very nearly a masterpiece.

Track Listing:-
1 Ode To Immer Weider
2 Ralph & Barbara
3 Cast That Light
4 The Truth
5 Infinity Pool
6 TX81Z
7 Hollywood 1,2 & 3
8 Shoot Me Into Space
9 The Ghosts
10 The Exit

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