Photo by Sam Moon
  • Smalltown Supersound
  • Photo by Sam Moon
RocketNumberNine
MeYouWeYou
(Smalltown Supersound)

An album that makes me want to dance, to get to work, and to read the novels of Philip K. Dick—not necessarily at the same time—can only be a good thing.

Based on the singles London-based brother duo Tom and Ben Page have released to date, "Rotunda" and the Four Tet-approved "Matthew and Toby," I expected to like their debut, and I do. I really do. And it reinforces my conviction that there's a post-post-punk scene going on in London that's about to blow up, and RocketNumberNine is part of it.

By "blow up," I don't mean to suggest that any these acts, like the Mercury Prize-nominated Polar Bear, are going to storm Billboard's dance charts—they're too off-kilter and spiky for that—but I predict that their popularity will only increase (and if Toronto's Odonis Odonis were from London, I would add them to this list).

Photo by Sam Moon
  • Smalltown Supersound
  • Photo by Sam Moon

Many of these musicians, especially the players in Melt Yourself Down, have backgrounds in regional and international jazz, and it shows. That characteristic provides a link with post-punk progenitors such as Pigbag and Rip Rig + Panic.

It's music designed to make you move, but it isn't cold or robotic—not that there isn't a time and place for that—but loose and funky. And it's not like the Page brothers aren't also working with machines, but the percussive bits (triangles, drums, etc.) have a decidedly human feel. It also sounds like they're running a melodica through a Vocoder on "Lope," so they're experimental, too.

Suitably post-punkadelic cover art
  • Smalltown Supersound
  • Suitably post-punkadelic cover art


Other than the garbled samples on "Symposium" and "Deadly Buzz," which recalls DJ Shadow by way of Love and Rockets—specifically their strobe-tastic "Ball of Confusion" cover—there are no vocals on MeYouWeYou, and nor are they necessary (they're also so scrambled that I couldn't identify a single word).

Words would probably get in the way of the grooves, and there are few things I enjoy less than a smooth, sinuous dance track with a stiff, ill-fitting vocal. In retrospect, RocketNumberNine would've been the ideal outfit to score Richard Linklater's Rotoscope take on Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, because of the "scramble suit" that Keanu Reeves wears throughout the film (Thom Yorke, who provided music for the movie, once asked RN9 to open for Radiohead).

I'm always on the hunt for get-to-work music, and RocketNumberNine has issued the finest example I've heard so far this year, though my number #1 GTW album is Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics' Inspiration Information (and not so coincidentally, a few of the MYD players have worked with Mr. Astatke).



MeYouWeYou is out now on Smalltown Supersound (July 30 release date).