Music News

Death by Chocolate

1960s London swings again in the playground of British vocalist/pop-culturist Angie Tillett and her production team at Terminal Electric Works, who have released their sophomore album under the name Death by Chocolate. This swirl of pop art builds sandcastles on obscure '60s covers, throwing around fragmentary cultural references and instrumentals that are equal parts neopsychedelia, spy jazz, and the sort of sunshine instrumental pop resurfaced by the easy-listening underground.

The album opens with a cover of a 1967 Electric Prunes ad for the Vox wa-wa pedal ("You can even make your guitar sound like a sitar!"), cannily inserting Death by Chocolate into the product's list of endorsers. The line between collage and collagist becomes similarly blurred by Tillett's recitation of her swinging-single shopping list to a groovy discotheque backing. Other '60s touchstones include a beat-stopping refrain drawn from Dudley Moore's Bedazzled dialogue ("'Ere, my ice lolly just melted"), an H.R. Pufnstuf tune (Witchiepoo's "Zap the World") recast as an a cappella harmony and jazz odyssey, and a pair of songs from the British film Smashing Time.

Tillett runs through a Seussian alphabet to Ray Manzarek-like accompaniment and pays tribute to her favorite car (Bentley Corniche), shirt (lime-green fitted blouse), art (the Op-Art works of Bridget Riley) and cereal (Cinnamon Grahams). The words are fanciful, the melodies effervescent, and the result is as seductive as candy.