Mr. Oizo

Moustache (Half a Scissor)

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The head of F.com (the French label on which this album was originally issued) has declared it to be "unbearable" listening. When the person in charge of selling your album is saying things like that, you might get a bit discouraged. Not Quentin Dupieux, who writes and records strange electronic music under the name Mr. Oizo. He takes such comments in stride, and in all fairness, Moustache (Half a Scissor) is actually far from unlistenable. Willfully bizarre, yes; whimsically weird, yes. But his beats are funky enough, and stop just short of the brokenness threshold. And though there's not much here in the way of melody and the album's overall sound is as chilly and astringent as an alcohol swab, there's a wild variety of colors and textures here to hold your attention. Check, for example, the vocal samples on "Straw Anxious" and the sly organ sounds on "Nurse Bob." The stuttering keyboard sounds on "Stunt" hark back to the glory days of 1980s synth pop, while "Square Surf" nods to house music in a friendly way without quite embracing it. Even at a party you might not play this album all the way through, but any one of these tracks is guaranteed to change the tenor of the conversations for a moment, and probably for the better.

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