Matmos The Civil War (Matador) Rating: NNN
Getting lured out of their San Francisco laboratory and thrust into the mainstream by Björk seems to have twisted the peculiar sense of humour of Matmos's Drew Daniel and MC Schmidt. Turning their attention away from the sounds of surgery to party like it's 1863, The Civil War uses medieval folk music and funny period costumes as a starting point for more elegant, tightly edited chamber electro beats. Matmos's resourceful sound sourcing continues (hey, you won't find Nickelback building a beat out of a rabbit pelt on their latest album), but the cut-up crew have never sounded more like real musicians. At times, it's almost soothing and respectful, although Matmos's caffeinated version of The Stars And Stripes Forever should get them banned from a handful of states.