Whereas many listeners have come to associate France's Mini Tenor imprint with dreamy loops of techno such as the imaginary spy-film soundtracks constructed by the brilliant Transfiguration, the label has something of a surprise up its sleeve in the form of Chocolate Barry. A one-man band, Chocolate Barry, aka Frederik, hails from a small town in Sweden, but rest assured his work bears no resemblance to that of other Swedish outfits like Entombed, Yngwie Malmsteen, or ABBA. Instead, Chocolate Barry's work comes from a universe where electronica coexists in harmony with pop, rock, and psychedelic flashbacks. Cucumber Trees and Ice Cold Lemonade is a hip-swaying collection of 12 tracks exhibiting Frederik's endearingly dark humor (and proportionally peppy music, a brilliant juxtaposition) in the form of sly and dryly witty odes to pop stardom, whiskey, and the Tour de France. The straightfaced sarcasm plays well; it's akin to an electronic and dancey Silver Jews (in lyrical tone and disconnected vocal style) or Leonard Cohen gene-spliced with strands of Big Audio Dynamite, '60s jangle pop, and Nuggets psych-rock, soul/funk of the same vintage, and traces of Edwyn Collins. Thanks to acts like Chocolate Barry, the genre of electronic music, which has often presented itself as ditsy and stale, is reinventing itself as dark, ironic, and smart.
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AllMusic Review by Karen E. Graves