Who would have ever thought that a pairing of Mark E. Smith with Mouse on Mars would be so funky? Tromatic Reflexxions is a dance floor dirty bomb that pounds with sharp, robotic beats while maintaining the ramshackle post-punk fire of the Fall. From the get go “Fledermaus Can’t Get Enough” jitters with what at first feels like a hollow and somewhat antiquated, pre-millennial house groove. There’s something very Trainspotting about the relationship between the fizzling beats and Smith’s drunken rants. But stale it is not, and the simple, plodding pace serves as a primer for the album that is about to unfold.
Each song builds one piece at a time in a post-punk/electronica back-and-forth that dips erratically into Smith’s mumbled mantras before leaning toward Mouse on Mars’ bombastic beats.
“The Rhinohead” hits hard with a disarmingly rich pop cadence, turning crashing alarm clock rhythms into party anthems. It’s the greatest Fall song that the Fall never wrote. Big hooks sweep over sizzling electronic noises that simmer behind the straight-ahead pop structure. “Flooded” blasts with a powerful dub bass that crackles with blown-speaker fuzz while Smith barks nonsensically about DJ’s pissing themselves. If his words made sense the song wouldn’t be as good, which serves as a potent summation of the record. Tromatic Reflexxions thrives on the unlikely alliance of Mouse on Mars’ precision electronics and Smith’s loose and drunken slurs. Their respective dynamics shouldn’t jive so well, but they make beautiful music together.