Neon Neon - Praxis Makes Perfect

Now here’s a novel idea…

Released in early 2008, Neon Neon’s
debut album, Stainless Style, put to
music the life of John DeLorean,
millionaire playboy and creator of the
iconic DeLorean DMC-12 car. By the
end of that year, the world was in
financial meltdown; now Europe’s on
the brink of accepting magic beans for
currency. It seems appropriate, then,
that Praxis Makes Perfect gives the
pop-biography treatment to
Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.

A keen businessman born into one
of Italy’s richest families, Feltrinelli
was also a socialist who used his
publishing house, Feltrinelli Editore, to
give voice to a mix of authors, poets
and radical thinkers who were, more
often than not, sticking it to The Man.
He smuggled Doctor Zhivago out of
Russia, where it had been banned; he
hung out with Castro and tried to
devise a global strategy for the Cuban
Revolution’s reform; he died, just two
years after launching his own leftist
activist group, seemingly at the hands
of his own explosives at a high-voltage
electrical pylon.

That’s a lot to get into 30 minutes,
yet Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip have
crafted an album that captures the
contradictory essences of Feltrinelli:
activist and businessmen. Fittingly, it’s
a more subtle, diverse beast than the
electro-pop hip-hop of Stainless Steel,
with Gruff’s melodic songwriting coming
more to the fore, though not at the
expense of Bip’s clean, precise electro
production. Vocal chatter rides the
radio waves of the title track, like
ghostly bulletins from Feltrinelli’s life;
elsewhere, The Leopard floats on an
almost Kate Bush-like dreamscape,
namechecking another of Feltrinelli’s
literary coups while building to
announce the Italian monarchy’s 1948
defeat by referendum. Each of these
10 songs is a piece in the Feltrinelli
puzzle, resulting in an album whose
ambition suitably matches its subject’s
big ideas. 

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Lex | LP-LEX-091 (2-CD / LP)

Reviewed by Jason Draper
<< Back to Issue 414

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