After the release of his 2003 debut, Ciaran McFeely - aka Simple Kid - decided he wasn't cut out for a lifestyle of deadlines and touring, and opted out for a job in a video shop, a period he calls "The Great Hibernation". Roused from his slumbers, but not straying far from his bedroom studio, he's made another album whose blend of banjo, acoustic slide guitar and trip-hop breakbeats recalls the original hip-hop/folk hybrid that hoisted Beck to prominence. And jolly good it is. McFeely's insular tendencies are outlined in songs like the sort-yourself-out message "Self-Help Book" and especially "Old Domestic Cat", a solo guitar and vocal demo expressing his avoidance of the bright lights in favour of evenings with Radio 4, books and crosswords. The arrangements are fattened here and there by miasmic pump organ drones, the Neu!-style krautrock of "Mommy 'n' Daddy", and smears of Beatlesque "Walrus" strings on the standout "Serotonin", a meditation on pleasure that finds our Kid fretting that happiness may be just a matter of brain-chemistry. But even chemistry needs a catalyst, and Simple Kid 2 serves that purpose admirably.
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