Safety Scissors: Tainted Lunch
Safety Scissors: Tainted Lunch
Artist Safety Scissors
Album Tainted Lunch
Label scape
Released 9/16/2005
From amnesia to French cooking to transatlantic affairs of the heart, Matthew Patterson Curry's lyrics sidestep cliché in favor of an awkward vulnerability, deliberate offrhymes and quotidian details. Balancing smarts with slapstick humor, he sets a Rimbaud poem about trench warfare, but calls it "I am the cheese" and keeps an eyebrow cocked throughout. When his wavery, emotionally direct voice (think Chet Baker as a sozzled tech support worker) and wry lyrics are combined with brisk, brittle electronic production and twangy guitars, the result adds up to classic synthetic pop music of the kind that makes everybody reach for their New Order and Magnetic Fields albums. But there's a substantial freakiness/funkiness to Curry's production too which takes 80's synth funk stabs, saxophone, a rubber bass guitar, electric piano, kazoo and banjo in stride, and sets beats and basslines spinning in odd directions, as frazzled quakes and dubbed out bleeps fizz through the mix. The cast of supporting characters and guest artists reveal a considerable pedigree: guest singers and co-songwriters include Erlend Øye of Kings of Convenience, Kevin Blechdom, Françoise Cactus of Stereo Total, and Kim West of Crack W.A.R., and there are additional production flourishes from Apendics Shuffle, Wobbly (Tigerbeat6), and, in particular, Vladislav Delay, who mixed the record in Berlin. Mr. Scissors emerged from a California clique containing friends Sutekh and maiden ˜scape artist Kit Clayton and like many of his peers his dance music drifted to new places. In 2001 Plug Research released his first album "Parts Water" on which he stumbles into songs. In the murky depths of "Parts Water" shy and naive vocals can be heard swimming around. In "Tainted Lunch" songs are written and sung by the same non-singer songwriter but with more clarity and purpose. All of them took root during an extended stay of 2.5 years in Berlin but being a bit less prolific than Bowie, it took a move back to San Francisco provide motivation and content for the completion, and perhaps the split between Berlin and San Francisco is the key. On these ten songs the elegant techno pop classicism of Germany is tainted by the prankster freak flag spirit of California, and the results are yummy. (Drew Daniel)