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Cannonball Jane - Street Vernacular (Fortuna Pop!)

Wow! Go Fortuna Pop! This record is fab. It’s making up dance routines with your friends in the back garden, it’s running as fast as you can just in time to catch the bus, it’s Converse on chewing-gum-sticky pavements and remembering candy-floss smells better than it tastes.

 

‘Street Vernacular’ is a frantic free-for-all at the sweetie stall, riding the sugar high across eleven tracks of delicious pick ‘n’ mix pop. Cannonball Jane has grabbed greedy fistfuls of pop history; girl group pop, buzzing garage, Motown, doo-wop, freak-beat, hip-hop, drum and bass and smooshed them together with generous helpings of wit and charm. This is how I like my pop – with everything you can lay your hands on thrown in, the kitchen sink being the least of it (hey, it can be an instrument too, you know). Glockenspiels glitter, beats trip and skid, guitars fizz and squeal, a piano thumps, you get goose-bumps, the crowd goes wild (well it does on ‘Automatic Knockout').

Think of the cut and paste aesthetic of the Go! Team, or the grand candy kitsch of Pizzicato Five’s mixing and matching. Well, this is cuter and more personal – Cannonball Jane is a one-woman show, a girl high on all pop’s twists and tricks, lovingly constructing confections of samples, loops and beats.

Jane (or Sharon to give her her ‘daytime’ name) treats her voice as another sampledelic source, one minute she’s pitching in with a full-throated Kathleen Hanna roar on the likes of the hyper ‘Let’s Go’, the next it’s all Sarah Cracknell cooing (see the elegantly sleepy groove of ‘Slumber Party’). ‘Brave New World’ manages to meld these two extremes, sounding like Saint Etienne mixin’ it up with Le Tigre over a badly-tuned radio, complete with police sirens, valedictory Mozart-filching organ riff, and Pac-Man sample. The smash and grab, blink and you miss it ‘Such Is The Score’ comes complete with ace Betty Boo girl next door rapping, “If that’s the case then I just don’t get it” and defies you not to shake it to the groovily rolling Deee-lite rumble thump drums. Then there’s the woozy backing track built from sighing layers of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ on the slightlydelic ‘Breaker Breaker’.

‘Hey! Hey! Alright!’ bustles frantically, beats skipping like stones across a scuzzy old fuzz-bass and crazily frugging organ sound – think The Spencer Davis Group on a collision course with Motormark. The lazily lilting ‘Automatic Knockout’ trips along on a sweet piano riff, hand claps and finger clicks like a playground clapping game before dissolving into the aforementioned cheering crowd sounds. 'Fine Reminder' takes a slice of sugary girl-group doo-wop, sprinkles on a twinkling backing, then chucks chunks of scratching over the top and a thumping kick drum heartbeat underneath, creating something echoingly eerie in the process.

Every one’s a winner, each song is a favourite when it’s playing, but ‘Taxi’ is the one that I know is gonna get me every time, sounding as it does like ? And The Mysterians being fed through a blender with Luscious Jackson, a dancefloor-bothering garage groove to flip all your switches.

R.R.R.G: Faithful pirating abduction

www.cannonballjane.com
www.fortunapop.com

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