Features | Awards

The Michael Keaton in Multiplicity Award for Cloning Your Own Album

By George Bass | 12 December 2011

Molnbär av John
Thundersketches EP
(Tona Serenad, 2011)

Normally when you want to increase sales you wait six months and then bring out the bonus disk. Not John Henriksson. Owner and head Swede on the Tona Serenad label, Molnbär av John took Thunderclown, his September collaboration with Momus, and actually released the backing tracks, cunningly dressed up in this hand-made 7”. Freed from Nick Currie’s unnerving confessions (sample lyric: “Pass the pancakes, pretty please / Or else I’ll strip myself and tease / My orgiastic organ to an ecstasy of joy”) the music here seemed innocent as buttons, until you noticed all the subliminal crackling that could probably form its own drone album. Scrubbed of the cynicism in Momus’ voice, Henriksson’s arrangements felt wonderfully out of time, like a medieval jester fallen nose-first into 2011.

But just like Michael Keaton in Multiplicity, Thundersketches’ six components each has its own quirk—there’s no telling when any of these one-minute skits might suddenly pulverize its boss at the construction site, or try to fuck Andie MacDowell three times. Opening with flutes and a French language lesson in “Aujourd’hui Il Fait Beau,” Henriksson pulled down the skirt on his universe—a place of hallucinating accordions and vintage Disney’s craziest moment. “The Teacher Sketch,” a kid-safe version of the outrageous original, is a piano exam in a haunted house, complete with hissing needles, while the dreamy strings of “The Criminal Sketch” are a well-done desert island gag. It’s eleven minutes of nonsense made from dusty antiques with the focus on music instead of the strange whispering bloke in the eye-patch. A rehash, then, but a rehash done well. But come on now, you even plagiarized the title? Who the fuck are you? Crystal Castles?