If filmmakers make biopics, then Neon Neon are music’s foremost makers of biodiscs. With 2008 debut Stainless Style, the electro-pop duo of Boom Bip and Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys imagined the inner life of disgraced car magnate John DeLorean. Now they turn to Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, the Italian Communist allegedly killed by his own explosives in 1972.
Praxis Makes Perfect utilises a storytelling style reminiscent of the novels of David Peace and, oddly, Evita, although its gentle Eighties pop sound is nowhere near as melodramatic, its musical DNA being split 50/50 between Kraftwerk and Hall & Oates. Which averages out near Pet Shop Boys, whose influence is acknowledged on the closing refrain of “Shopping (I Like To)”: “I’ve got the bucks, you’ve got the looks ...”
More mainstream still, “Hammer & Sickle” starts with the drum pattern of Diana Ross’s “Chain Reaction”. An obscure figure from far-left history could be a dry topic, but Gruff’s gorgeous voice helps humanise Feltrinelli. Never more so than on “Hoops With Fidel”, which, rather than demonising him and Castro, conveys the ideal of international revolution as a beautiful thing. As beautiful, in fact, as this album.