Label: Brainlove Records Release date: 15/11/10 Link: Myspace Amazon After being widely lauded as one of the most intriguing and distinctive artist around, it was with a sense of curiosity that this particular writer approached the task of reviewing this latest release by Leeds-based singer-songwriter Napoleon IIIrd. Also a prolific and well-respected remixer with his own myspace page dedicated purely to that aspect, Christiania, as it is called, is a showcase of atmospheric backdrops, extraordinary melodies and rhythms and generally of how far one man can push the boundaries of what can be produced armed only with one’s own creativity and a laptop. It is hard to express just how many different genres are represented in Christiania but what is even more outstanding is Napoleon IIIrd’s ability to make it all sound so easy whilst all the time enthralling and encapsulating his listeners with its complexity. It’s quite short for an album – only nine songs long – but these nine songs display such variety that it couldn’t matter less. When the album opener is compared to the closing track, the difference on show becomes all the more astounding. Opener ‘The Unknown Unknown’ is almost a dance song, infectious beats, jagged guitars and melodies driving the song forward at one hell of a pace, whereas ‘MRFU’ is a plethora of experimental and textured atmospheric samples and loops that would fit at home in any Fuck Buttons release. In addition, ‘Rough Music’ is a fantastic journey, starting at slow experimental samples and building up to include a pounding rhythm that culminates in an epic finale. There are also math-rock influences on show, represented best in the Battles-esque ‘The Hardline Optimist’. The curiously named ‘This Town’ and ‘That Town’ are faster paced; ‘That Town’ in particular is a much poppier track which sounds much like a commercial indie track in the vein of even the early Killers records. ‘Guys Just Want To Have Sun’, whilst being expertly and hilariously named is actually one of the weakest songs on the record – it suffers from a bit too much experimentalism – but this is a minor blip in an otherwise startling and flawless record. You won’t get any hipsters or scenesters jumping on the Napoleon IIIrd bandwagon. This is real music for real music fans, and this man isn’t half talented. It’s just a record like no other; from the great track names to the fact each song seems to represent his attempt at a different genre of music. Yet the brilliance lies in its creativity, its fluidity and the dedication put in to the making. One of the best things to be said of Christiania is that it doesn’t sound forced and you can just tell that James Mabbett (as he’s also known) enjoys making his music. It may be experimental in nature but the music of Napoleon IIIrd couldn’t be easier to listen to. Photobucket