Rudi Zygadlo - Tragicomedies
Classical-electro-pop? Bach-step? Piano-something-or-other? There's probably a PR company out there trying to invent a genre for it. Whatever you want to call it, Rudi Zygadlo is doing it for his second LP Tragicomedies. The Glaswegian producer follows up 2010's genre cross-breed Great Western Laymen with a more classically influenced and tortured sound, although he retains the occasional dubstep doo-wop.
Starting with the piano ballad of 'Kopernikuss', we see a more vulnerable side to Zygadlo's songwriting. It's a theme that is continued throughout the album, with 'Domino Quivers' and 'Russian Dolls' offering some truly moving verses. It's not the songwriting as such that sounds emotional, but the way he delivers it. He could sing a song about getting the washing off the line and your mind would probably give it a backdrop against a cold winter's night, with just him alone, slowly removing each clothes peg, perhaps with a faint light from his house lighting the task. It's an often understated quality to be that visual without ever really setting the scene.
Despite Tragicomedies being quite a consistent affair, it's rarely astounding. There are tracks of significance, but not enough to make the album stand out. It's mainly because there are so many genres packed in. Usually I'm critical of bands for not branching out enough, but in this case it seems to be too much. Sometimes the classical aspects remixed work surprisingly well, but it always comes across as a slightly more experimental Beirut. Tracks like 'On' and 'Deaf School' are part of the better end of the spectrum, but especially towards of the end of the record it starts to sound a bit tired and recycled. It's still a refreshing record, but maybe if a couple of tracks were left on the cutting room floor it could sound a bit more urgent.
It's very hard to level any harsh criticism towards Tragicomedies. Alright, it's not going to break into many end of year lists, but there are plenty of dance fans who I'd gladly recommend it to, and I'm sure would at least appreciate what it's trying to do. Classical-electro-pop? Bach-step? Piano-something-or-other? None of the above. It's unmistakeably Rudi Zygadlo, and it sounds delicious.