on 19 February 2002
Truant's Jason Boardman and Ben Ashdown first met way back in 1995 at Dave Haslam's Yellow club, where they were disc jockey and jacket jockey respectively. Their debut album will be received gratefully by all those who fell in love with their 'Naked Ape' single a couple of years ago - the tune that kicked off the Big Chill's 'Enchanted 02'. That reappears here, albeit in evolved form, re-recorded and retitled 'Time of the Ape'. It remains as cheeky as a monkey with a whoopy cushion.
That is just one of the highlights of a thoroughly likeable album, which smoothly skirts around balearic house, moonshine funk and jazzy beats. If ever a response were needed to the charge that dance music is repetitive or predictable, this is it. Here is an everchanging sequence of perky rhythms, amusing samples, guitars, flutes, strings, brass, monastic choirs, harmonica - and all that just on first track 'The Life Cycle'. Then there is the most beautiful Q&A between a a spooky jazz organ and a muted trombone on the title track. The familiar tones of Danielle Moore of label-mates Crazy Penis follow on 'Song of a City'. And if that is starting to sound predictable, how about a Hendrix cover? Yep, 'Purple Haze', refashioned, almost convincingly, as acid jazz.
Although perhaps lacking the killer punch of one stand-out tune, 'Neither Work Nor Leisure' is an impressive addition to the Paper catalogue. And it is true: playing Truant is cool.