Taking your name from a character in William S. Burroughs' book Naked Lunch is a perfectly industrial, '80s, or left-field move, and as displayed on this debut album, Belgian DJ, producer, and party promoter Mugwump is influenced by them all. Unspell is a nocturnal beast that's often sleek but sharp and jagged where need be, and while it revels in the deep bass and reverb of New Beat and Electronic Body Music -- two dark '80s genres Belgium gave birth to -- it doesn't give way to any Lords of Acid-styled garishness. When it comes to sex on the dancefloor, Mugwump's more like GusGus as "Until You're Worth It" creeps like that band's scintillating hit "Lady Shave." Prime instrumental "Memento Lies" recalls Belgium's quirky Kraftwerk alternative Telex, and yet the ambitious closer "School's Out" drops hints that the Orb, Aphex Twin, and Toro y Moi have all already happened, since Mugwump is influenced by the '80s, not stuck in it. Vocalists such as Luke Jenner of the Rapture, plus Circlesquare and Samy Birnbach of Minimal Compact, are all in tune with Mugwump's aesthetic, making Unspell a successful exploration of dance music both subtle and sharp.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries