I was almost disappointed to learn that Strawberry Nightmares are in fact an English band. If only they had been German then I could have hailed this album as a prime example of the fabled Teutonic inability to do irony. However, “Grin City” awash as it is with eighties analog synth, must surely be ironic.
As the tarnished robotic rhythms of “Zom B-Boys and The Phantom Phunk” emerge from a smokescreen of Vangelis into the illuminated by a 60 watt bulb Harold Nono land, the lack of vocals reinforces the musical iconoclasm posited by this band. The reverse of the brave, shiny new world that blinds us with Technicolor nothingness, if you like. Even the enforced, or should that be forced, simplicity of “Shmowzow!” seems less an attempt to reinterpret music on hold than a potential sacrifice to the god of lederhosen filled dance floor remixes.
All that makes Strawberry Nightmares something of an enigma. Whilst lost in the time warp of simpler technological times, they nonetheless provide proof that doing it with less gets you exactly the same result. Way back when, they used to say that the future would be so bright that you would have to wear cords. Or was it Korg. One day I’ll buy a tardis and go back in time and find out. Or maybe not. Until then, you can trip on to this album and absorb the irony.