Selofane Seventyfour's self-titled album is a hybrid of incredibly strange instrumentals, featuring vintage Moog and synth workouts with the occasional sitar or theremin from a '50s sci-fi flick thrown in. The group -- Joe Foster (ex-Slaughter Joe) and Buzzcocks bassist Tony Barber -- was contractually obligated to fulfill a recording agreement to record "library" music, and decided to have a bit of fun with the project. They're assisted here by Richard Tayter, who is something of a legend in '60s and '70s mood music. He's apparently done very little new recording since his legendary million-selling Sounds Like Tijuana (1967) and classic Pop Goes the Moog (1973). According to Poptones' website, Tayter had followed up these releases with more "esoteric" instrumental projects Black Mass, Stylophone in Hi-Fi, Sitar Goes Latin, and Heavy Hits -- Glenn Miller Style!, as well as "other classics from the Woolworth's racks of yesteryear," on his way to becoming a cult fave. He's joined by electronic music guru Peter Towndrow, who contributed Moog synthesizer and zither. In fact, the arrangements and production -- by Foster and Tayter -- feature all kinds of wacky instrumentation, including sitar and percussion-heavy funky vibraphones. At some point during the recordings, they decided to attempt something that would be considered somewhat mainstream and straight-ahead, keeping in mind they would end up with something that their musical colleagues would find utterly hilarious. Foster and Alan McGee of Poptones conspired to give Selofane Seventyfour its proper release in 2000, although tapes of this cult oddity were being passed among friends for years. Poptones' in-house designer Mike Alway came up with the group's name, and made up more than half of the song titles for Selofane Seventyfour as he designed the tri-fold digipack. This album certainly didn't seem to fit in with the other releases coming out on Poptones at the time of its release (it was label's fourth release), though it would be difficult to imagine it fitting in with any other contemporary releases at any time, really. One of the highlights is "Mr. Music," a track dedicated to Ed Ball of Television Personalities, Foster's former band (and that's none other than Kim Fowley spouting off about convincing "your record company that you are an anarchist"). Another highlight is "My First Rolls Royce" (reputedly a zither-enhanced rendition of the German national anthem).
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AllMusic Review by Bryan Thomas