Editor's Rating

With their second album Radiation, Battery Operated Orchestra stand out because they never neglect the pop in their electro-pop and thread a home-made charm through their songs.

8.5

Initially out in September, we hang our heads in shame that it took us until now to discover and write about Battery Operated Orchestras second album, Radiation.

Much as you’d be right to be wary of well-turned-out folk touting synths these days (by now Half Man Half Biscuit’s Adam Boyle will have further ditched the “stuff on Topic for which he’s not geared” for a modular synth kit) – you’re safe to check out Brighton’s Battery Operated Orchestra. Including their earlier, Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation-released, incarnation as Katsen they’ve a fair few years of fine releases under their belts.

BOO obviously know their history, echoing the euro-vibe of Kraftwerk and their 80s successors. Their never-quite-pure sounds and 8-bit-squawks buzz with static like a Pikachu in a balloon factory and they’re well capable of earnest and icy-cool knob-twiddling. But they mainly stand out because they never neglect the pop in their electro-pop and thread a home-made charm through their songs – which ensures they endear rather than allowing the deliberate aloofness (which this sort of studied pop kind of needs) to distance them. And if you like a physical copy of an album, that artisanal undercurrent also finds its way into the lovingly put together retro-futurist CD package.

Of course post-referendum there’s plenty of us who need a bit euro-tinged optimism and this sort of electronica, harking back to a more hopeful age fits the bill.

Pick up “Radiation” on CD + download via Bandcamp – https://batteryoperatedorchestra.bandcamp.com/album/radiation