Berlin electronica duo Modeselektor (DJs Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) is a favorite of Thom Yorke, who has consistently championed it for many years. It's easy to see why the Radiohead frontman enjoys this psychedelic-glitch-metal-rap-dance-whatever act, as it is hard to categorize, especially on Monkeytown, the fifth full-length and second self-released effort.
Yorke guest stars on two tracks—the skittish, synth-scarred "Shipwreck," and the murkily deranged "This," both of which could've easily fit on Radiohead's 2007 meditation on 21st-century paranoia, In Rainbows. But these aren't the best moments by a long shot. For those, you should check out the banging, distorted electro-rock of "Evil Twin," which sounds like a light-saber battle in an interstellar bass-off contest. There's also the killer midtempo jam "Berlin," featuring the too-sexy-to-have-that-voice Romanian-German R&B star Miss Platnum. There's even an experiment in eight-bit videogame composition with "Grillwalker," perfect background music for all-night Galaga marathons. Modeselektor also switches to what I can only describe as "shoegaze funk-gun" mode with "German Clap," an eerie, booming bit of dance-floor destruction.
There's really not a bad neighborhood to be found in Monkeytown, even if, stylistically, it's all over the electronica map. Neither wallpaper nor intellectually challenging, the album is just what the title suggests—a landscape of sound overrun by a simian mobile disco. Regardless, this is one of the year's best dance CDs.