Can we dispense with the usual introductions and press release gubbins (I’m sure some crafty and creative googling will get you all the info should you need it and need it you will). Truth is we are rush reviewing this because its an album that a) we fear we’ll forget to come back to it (and not because it lacks affection or adoration – because it does) but because b) its so scuffed and skewed it lends itself to being written about off the cuff. Fourth full length from John Mouse – or the Welsh Beck as some prefer to herald him – goes by the cheery title ‘the death of john mouse’ – eleven tracks – 33 minutes, never tires, never dulls, always keeps you intrigued – was haplessly described by one as ’esoteric’ – though I’m hard pushed to hear anything remotely esoteric, we’ve even played it twice on the trot because we love it so much – alas any hints of the esoteric are if anything well hidden. Safe to say you can get the measure of an albums worth when something emerges through the fog and just knocks you squarely into next week, and so it was to the parting ’once upon a time in ynysmaerdy (will I ever queue again)’ that such revelations came to pass, a quietly grand and euphoric ending that nods and pays it dues to the Super Furry Animals and Gorki’s Zygotic Mynci whilst armed and steeled in a timeless velour of tear stained aural postcards that hint of faded letters dispatched from memories coloured in black and white. Dare I say admirers of the Earlies and Shady Bard will adore. Admittedly it’s a wow moment – not merely due to its demurred musicality but quite frankly because it’s a welcoming and surprising sore thumb appearing on a set whose impish charm ricochets between moments of barbed Half Man Half Biscuit / ’the End’ witticisms to Robert Lloyd-esque pop panache and dumbed down Arab Strap ordinariness. The woes of being dragged out of your comfort zone and growing apart are finitely studied on ’I was a goalkeeper’ as it pitches one of the finest lines in recent memory in ‘I was a goalkeeper and then everybody grew tall’ before tearing through the defences in full 3 forward attack formation rippling hooks you can hang entire careers upon, riffs so sharp you can cut teeth with and a chorus line ripe for crowd waving. Scarcely pausing for breath the schizoid ’those two blokes from Abba’ comes shambling out into the daylight tearing it up like some bastard offspring of a youthful Pixies and Stump bunk up before driving headlong into the acutely cute power popping kick ass strut kissed ’your funny little ways’ taking along the way several nibbles of Mr Lloyd’s ’something nice’. sparring for affection with once upon a time in ynsmaerdy’ arrives ’robbie savage’ – an amazing and dare we say consuming slice of spoken word bleakness which resonates like nothing heard here since the Tindersticks’ ’my sister’ and then its time to nail down all moveable objects and don tin hats for the frenzied sonic light bolt that is ’ilka moor’ – a Zorn like slab of angular no wave jazz ju-ju. Elsewhere ’I’m waiting for you girl’ just nails that gumball / teenage fan club late 80’s / early 90’s sound firmly to the floor albeit as though rephrased through the viewfinder of the Loft while all said I must admit to being somewhat under the spell of ’the bell it tolls’ with its wintry fanfares and that sense of a charging cavalry heading fast over the hill. An unassuming gem and a classic in waiting.