Tim O'Donovan likes synths. Tim O'Donovan also likes sharp suits, sunglasses resembling Kit from Knightrider, the Human League and Dr. Groove drum machines. Tim O'Donovan, in case you didn't know, is Bell X1's touring drummer by day, and Neosupervital the rest of the time. And Neosupervital, in case you didn't know, is this country's most exciting electro-pop prospect since Daniel O'Donnell's Frankie Goes to Hollywood covers album. If you've seen Neosupervital, you'll know that his live show verges on the absurd at times, especially when accompanied by DancinVin (the straightest gay man in Dublin, if his Vogue strut is anything to go by); and his songs, whilst certainly not as slapstick as they could be, still rely on the droll delivery, crowd-participation and between-song banter he excels at. It's with some initial trepidation, then, that the album is approached; but if there was ever a sneaking suspicion that the whole Neosupervital persona began as some sort of joke, it's firmly allayed over the subsequent 43 minutes. Despite the moniker, there's nothing strictly vital or innovative here, at least musically. Opening couplet Now That I've Found It and Rachel are both dipped in 80s-synth-serum and rolled in retro disco vibes; Nothing is a decidedly sweet love song replete with catchy bassline and (un?)intentionally hilarious layered backing vocals, and single Step Into the Sunshine (Baby Alright) is Human League android-on-acid-satisfying. Where Neosupervital truly excels, however, is lyrically; his tongue-in-cheek monotone ripostes and sharp narratives (Jazz Fascist, Artscool Girl) may not be as profound as your average muso would favour, but they bring a wide grin, if not a belly-aching laugh to proceedings on regular occasions. By the time the ninth track P.H.B. (Pathetic Human Being) motors 'round, energy and consistency is in danger of flagging; but the Kids In America-meets-Gary Numan throb of Drive and ready-made dance remix of Behind the Couch ensures a triumphant conclusion. Unlike his 'other' band, Neosupervital is under no pretence that his solo work is derivative; yet, instead of camouflaging that fact, he celebrates it. This is one man who definitely should give up the day-job.
Review by Lauren Murphy | 09:00 | Friday 1st September 2006 | Album Review