Dusted Reviews

Jake Fairley - Touch Not the Cat

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Jake Fairley

Album: Touch Not the Cat

Label: Paper Bag

Review date: Feb. 22, 2005

A few Sundays back in the New York Times, Simon Reynolds diagnosed dance music’s “midlife crisis” circa now. Specifically, he noted that unlike yesteryear’s future facing standard-bearers, the knob-twiddlers and mouse-pushers of today are continually gleaning in their own backyard and, most controversially, rock ‘n roll’s expansive acreage rather than venturing to find new frontiers. Whether Daft Punk’s simulation of Van Halen squeals wed to Moroder machination, or the endless supply of German vinyl that floats on computerized Slowdive ripples, dance music’s blurry borders and innate adaptivity has in some cases yielded better returns than their guitar-welding Luddite peers. The cadre of Teutonic technicians who mined glam’s rubbed-off glitter to invent schaffel – an honorary member among them being Toronto-born, Berlin-based Jake Fairley – like to think so.

Two years on from his debut, Crisis, and a streak of 12”s issued on such lauded beat repositories as Kompakt, Sender and Traum, Fairley’s second album Touch Not the Cat is a geyser blast after much seismic rumbling. Fairley's tingly trance monotone is spiked with pixelated vitriol and crunched titanium riffs. Most notably, though, is the fact that Fairley has chosen to bold his onetime suitably limp vocals. Opener "Nightstick" sets an awkward precedent with Fairley's karaokeing the whisky-stained baritone of Jim Morrison with such earnest sobriety that Ian Astbury sounds soulful in comparison. Elsewhere, Fairley ditches the leather pirate pants for the comfort of triple-XL denim on the grating tweaker narrative "Mosquito." "At Night" is Jesus and Mary Chain bubblegum turned G4 hard candy, while "I Never Try" glimmers with fractal feedback once Fairley flips off the Mr. Mojo filter.

With only 10 tracks, half of Cat is rendered largely obsolete due to Fairley's frontman frontin’. The album's other content, though, is thankfully pristine bump. "Dinklesburg" is all gothy fizz and LFO slither, "Top Hat" stomps through squelched fuzz currents while "Radiator" toes the 4/4 line on a sputtering motor. But under the silver studded PowerBook chords and white label chug, Fairley is stuck revving on neutral. All gleaming chrome with nary a shadowy depth cue, Touch Not the Cat is so densely alloyed it almost disguises its hollow core.

By Bernardo Rondeau

Read More

View all articles by Bernardo Rondeau

Find out more about Paper Bag

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.