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Soft Hair Soft Hair Weird World

Connan Mockasin’s gone full Britney circa 2001 VMAs on this album’s cover art; bare skin, flowing blonde waves and a fat, phallic albino python draped around his shoulders. But Soft Hair don’t do sexy in any usual way. You’ll notice red body paint, hairy forearms and an equally sultry stare from Mockasin’s musical compadre LA Priest. The musician once known as Sam Dust/Eastgate from hyperactive indie band Late of the Pier holds out a glossy green apple, daring you not to feel just a tiny bit turned on.

Pop world androgyny and unsubtle erotic signifiers rarely herald a sexual revolution in 2016, so it’s truly satisfying that Soft Hair come through on their Garden of Eden-styled promises. The project has reportedly been in the works since 2009, when the two musicians met on tour, and these eight tracks are the consequence of a slow-burning process flavoured by both artists’ solo projects. Dust fully embraced his LA Priest moniker with debut LP Inji last year, and track A Goo(o)d Sign makes a reprise here – slightly edited, and with an extra vowel in its title. That extra ‘ooh’ makes a perfect analogy for a half hour spent with Soft Hair.

Drips drop and flies buzz, bubbles burst and spongy beats take bungee dives into psychedelic spirals. Relaxed Lizard drifts just the right side of freaky, and Alive Without Medicine‘s simmering cosmic heat hits boiling point. Voyeuristic single Lying Has To Stop dives head-first into a deep, turquoise pool – helium-high “mmmm yeah”s offset cheap bum jokes for one of this year’s most understated, persistent earworms. Mockasin’s let-it-all-hang-out approach finds its match in Priest’s elastic sense of time and space, and this meeting of warped minds brings out the best and worst in both parties. It’s a blow out.