Like an accidental historical repeat of the beyond-all-expectations collaborations of Brian Eno and John Cale (Wrong Way Up, which also happens to be one of the primary RIYLs in this case), PLUM PROFESSIONAL finds Luke Csehak, the prolific songwriter behind The Lentils and former mastermind of Happy Jawbone Family Band, combining his talents with those of the curtained MIDI wizard, Michael Chadwick. You may ask, is this the most professional music ever made? Fat and slippy layers of analog synths counterpoint Luke's Tom-Verlaine-friendly guitar, in a surreal aural landscape so expertly engineered you'd almost think it wasn't recorded in a bedroom. But listeners will agree, it's faded neon, airbrush funkiness could only have come from a California bungalow ill-advisedly ratcheted to the side of a mountain. Moments mocking the neoliberal smoothness of indie music slide into synco-automated passages from the school of Cluster or Stereolab. And here is another thick volume of Csehak's canonical lyrics (equal parts thought-provoking and nonsense) enriched by Chadwick's own poetic genius, and that of OSR ideologue Zach Phillips (who penned lyrics for “List of leaving”), and occasional harmonic oomph from Natalie “Weyes Blood” Mering. Employee Handbook is a flawless debut, as perplexing as it is enjoyable, pressed onto only 100 LPs in hand-stickered jackets.
released December 9, 2016
All songs written produced and performed by Michael Chadwick and Luke Csehak except Local Realism ( written by Michael Chadwick, Luke Csehak and Nick Humber), and List of Leaving (written by Michael Chadwick, Luke Csehak and Zach Philips)
Natalie Mering - backup vocals on Spooky Action at a Distance, Deep Double Blind
Gracie Jackson - Lead guitar on No More Quirky Indie Murders Please