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3.6 out of 5 stars
Praxis Makes Perfect
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2013
When I first listened to this album I wasn't that taken with it. It didn't have as much of an immediate impact on me as the 80s electro-pop brilliance of Stainless Style - which is one of my top 5 albums of all time. And the song that I liked the most on one listen - 'mid century modern nightmare' - seemed woefully - even cruelly - short.

But I listened again. And again. And I can't stop listening to it. I constantly hum all the tracks on an endless mind-loop. This album is utterly, utterly brilliant.

I've read quite a lot of criticism of it, much along the lines of a 'lack of singles', but to me this is a risky concept, and subject matter, and the songs flow beautifully together as a bio. Singles and stand-out tracks are not really what it is about. Besides, I personally think 'The Jaguar' and 'Hammer and Sickle' are as good as anything on Stainless.

And I was so happily surprised that, even with a left wing politician as the inspiration rather than a chin-implanted capitalist behemoth, that the eighties synth and pop feel (which I'd personally associate with Western decadence and excess) still remained in all its glory!

This is such a clean and refined album ... enough already; my main point is: If you were disappointed first time round, I really recommend sticking with it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Ok "Praxis makes perfect" the new album by Neon Neon doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs. Focusing on the life and times of `man of letters and agent of change' Giangiacomo Feltrinelli (1926 - 1972), Italian publisher (he was the visionary who put out the manuscript of the novel Doctor Zhivago), anti-fascist and left-wing activist hardly seems ideal foundations for a synth rock concept album come musical. But Neon Neon are the Super Furry Animals resident Welsh genius Gruff Rhys and his fellow compardre Boom Bip a pair of fiendishly inventive and playful musicians. This is their second album following the previous concept album "Stainless Style" on the Delorean a car everyone admired but no one bought, which was somewhat akin to the record sales which followed despite a Mercury nomination. It is doubtful that this album will sell by the bucketful but more fool those who don't give it a whirl since its a lush beast, full of warmth and humour. The pounding "The Jaguar" is almost vintage SFA and a irresistibly sweet synth pop song with Gruff's inimitable soft tone vocals full of that West Wales lilt. In addition how many songwriters would introduce lines "I stood in the shade of fascist architecture"? In terms of "Dr Zhivago" it actually sounds a bit like Spandau Ballet''s "Gold" at the outset until it locks into a glorious pop flow and potential single. Even better are both "Hoops with Fidel" and "Hammer and sickle", two songs which despite the largely serious lyical content (the latter is about Feltrinelli's changing relationship to the Italian Communist Party!), you could happily play on full volume at the beach with their exuberant waves of fuzzy warm electronica.

There is always in any work by experimentalist Gruff Rhys some missteps and the bubblegum pop of `Shopping (I Like To)' featuring Italian pop superstar Sabrina Salerno is a bit too close to the Pet Shop Boys for comfort. Better is the harder "Mid Century Modern Nightmare", although you feel that Kim Wilde could have done a great version of this in her heyday. It features Asia Argento reading out extracts from a call-to-arms that Feltrinelli broadcast in Genoa in 1970, using a pirate transmitter wired up to his Fiat car to generate support for the violent left wing grouping Gruppi d'Azione Partigiana (GAP). One of the highlights of the set is the brilliant "The Leopard" almost an electronic love song with haunting backing vocals and a deep synth shuffle. The standout is the saddest song on the album "Caio Feltrinelli" which deals with the Italians suspicious death. Feltrinelli increasingly believed a right-wing coup was imminent in this deeply troubled era of Italian history characterised by the Red Brigades and state violence and his attempt to bring Cuban revolutionary tactics to Italy cost him his life as he was allegedly blown up by his own explosives. The song touches on all this but its strength is probably that it could have happily appeared on any Super Furry Animal album and not be out of place. In the last analysis quite how Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip have brought such colour and verve to what should be a rather po-faced subject matter is both surprising and defies musical gravity. "Praxis makes perfect" proves that revolutionary politics is actually tremendous fun and for those who love the super inventive imagination of Gruff Rhys will find much here to emphatically re-proclaim that he is the best musical asset this side of the Severn bridge.
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on 2 September 2014
Kitsch and amazing!

Gruff Rhys cannot do a thing wrong in my opinion and this album continues to show what a talented, versatile and fun musician he is. A great project and I hope there are third and fourth and more albums to come!
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on 25 July 2013
her in doors.
It is of interest to people who take their music in whatever direction they feel it takes them.
Be aware you will get hooked.
Its happened to me.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2013
Gruff Rhys should be remembered as THE song writing genius at Creation Records not that other guy who was great but Gruff was and still is a true musical maverick and song-writing GENIUS.
Another great album by Neon Neon.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2013
I'd hear a lot about Neon Neon's gig in Cardiff a few weeks ago and eventually got hold of this record today. In a week when the world is going nuts for Daft Punk's new album (which seems pretty great by the way) I am finding this to be as surprising, creative and exciting as anything I've listened to in a fair while.. I love the left-of-centre themes and sonic curveballs which can only be delivered like this in the hands of great artists and musicians.. really brilliant.

I'm often disappointed by side collaborations, but there has been some amazing work created by members of SFA over the last year. Check out Cian Ciarán 'Outside In' and personally I'm in love with Gulp (Guto Pryce of SFA and Lindsey Leven) who have just recorded an album after their debut single 'Game Love' which I hope will see the light of day very soon.

Phew... my first amazon review done!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Less electronic than the first album and much fewer guest appearances, but as always with a Gruff Rhys album there is melody and wit by the rather large bucket-load. Get it!!!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2013
You know Gruff Rhys is quickly becoming a Indie national treasure, he could have made a good career releasing catchy SFA albums, but instead has chosen to constantly surprise & challenge his listeners.
As with the second release from Neon Neon. Carrying on with their 80's production sound, but with less guitar (so if you're a fan of Gruff Rhys SFA or his other solo projects, this record Is probably not for you), but a little more sophisticated.
It is real delight to hear songs about Dr. Zhivgo & playing on the beach with Fidel (although it's probably a metaphor development of communism), a subject matter rarely touch on in Indie music.
Now not wishing to sound lazy or pig ignorant, but I cant real be bothered to research this Praz fellow, or read "Senior Service" by Carlo Feltrinelli (the book that this album is based on), but just simply enjoy a fascinating & pretty unique sounding record.
The Deluxe version of the CD contain 4 great extra songs, that are more laid back & atmospheric, it just a shame they couldn't have found space on the original album (Praxis only lasts for 30 minutes).
So I think a stronger record that "Stainless Style" with Gruff & Boom Bip becoming used to each others working practice. So an album that is not going to tilt the music world on it's axis, but further mythologize one of the UK's most gifted songwriters.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2013
Stainless style - was exactly that..80s poppy with a current twist - music based story telling that you'd dig out time & time again.
This one is a study in tedium and fantastic packaging.
There are no tracks that would be suitable for single release - in fact I'd class the album as a collection of b-sides..if it had been released as such I might have been more excited.
The one saving grace is that I now have a couple more autographs - and yes I am a big enough fan that when there's another album I will be pre-ordering.

long story short;
Great packaging
Technically great but boring songs
Autographs are ace
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2013
Got this Album as I loved their first concept album so much.
But what's even better is the live show - you MUST see it if you can!
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