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L. Pierre - Dip

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Artist: L. Pierre

Album: Dip

Label: Melodic

Review date: Jan. 15, 2007

This album, the first post Arab Strap split release from the either Aidan Moffat o Malcolm Middleton, carries with it a lot of expectation. While Middleton has quickly slipped into the role of a hangover troubadour, Moffat has added a little more live instrumentation to his L. Pierre moniker. Unfortunately, despite the string and horn sections, the majority of the melodic phrases on sound like hackneyed musical loops instead of real playing.

Eschewing the overwhelmingly sample heavy but skeleton thin structural elements of his previous two LPs (under the saucier Lucky Pierre moniker), he’s added this dash of organic sound to pep things up. It works in fits and spurts; Dip is still a totally hit and miss affair, with only two of the five songs clicking (though, the cut back on the shitty disco beats for a couple of tracks is definitely a good move). This could’ve been Moffat's third strike as a solo artist, but at least he seems to be moving in the right direction.

When he manages to get it right, he can make it sound like he’s stumbled across snippets of lost pre-session warm-ups from Love or Spiritualized. The gorgeous opening "Gullsong" ditches the machine funk of the past for a gorgeous set of uncoiling horns, the strings and accordion underpinning a delicate wash of waves and softened gull cries; this whole piece is a huge staring-out-to-sea swoon of a song. But like the last two LPs, this never manages to sustain its singular moments of partial bliss into the length of a long player. Songs dreamily plod along on sampled loops with disco or rumba percussion, either veering too close to the aforementioned artists (the diet-Satie "Ache" and "Weir's Way’s" elongated Boo Radley impression) or into repetitive dull patterns ("Drift’s" insubstantial float).

When the penultimate “Hike” finally arrives, it’s a breath of fresh air. It may well be another string part, but this time it’s blended with a catchy flute and banjo line. Like a cross between The Grid’s “Swamp Thing” and Dreadzone’s “Little Britain” (forgotten ’90s dancefloor classics), this is a catchy tap-along track that flirts with its pop elements while never going for broke. Dip’s problem is it proves (again) that Moffat is stretching too few dull ideas too tightly over the same transient shell. His reluctance so far to branch out with his vocal/prose work into the solo arena may be commendable from an awkward artist point of view, but it is beginning to look like his instrumental L. Pierre project is never going to satisfy.

By Scott McKeating

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