Album review: Damian Lazarus / ‘Smoke The Monster Out’ (Get Physical)


Damian Lazarus has been at the forefront of dance music ever since he launched his Crosstown Rebels label. Now he finally released his debut LP.

With the release of his debut artist album, Smoke The Monster Out, Lazarus will attract a whole new set of fans while also greatly pleasing the faithful. The name of the game here is risk. Sure, Lazarus could have put forth a release of simple yet pleasing tracks and people would have been happy. Instead, he drops crazy tracks like the cartoonish and bizarre electronic scat jazz/cabaret “Bloop Bleep” alongside an elegant, Björk-like cover of Scott Walker’s gorgeous “It’s Raining Today” and the Lou Reed inspired folktronic “After Rave Delight.” The album is a marvelous shock in every good way possible. His decision to collaborate with Arthur Jeffes—son of the Penguin Café Orchestra’s Simon Jeffes—is spot-on as Jeffes brings forth the unusual acoustic instrumentation and arrangements that form the backbone of the album’s brilliance. This is one of the year’s finest treats.

Justin Kleinfeld
File under: Björk, Brian Eno, Nathan Fake