Temperamental and Singles
Somewhere between a curio and a snapshot of a time and place, the two-disc Temperamental and Singles, a near-comprehensive overview of the work of Belgian/American duo Kid Montana, is the kind of detailed, celebratory reissue that will thrill any fans while making most other listeners wonder what the shouting was about to start with. Having begun as an initial solo side project for Digital Dance member Jean-Marc Lederman, Kid Montana turned into a full band with the addition of Dudley Klute in 1983, with the collection reaching from that year's Revisiting Yalta EP through 1987's "Still Color Waiting"/"Spooky" remix single, at which time Lederman focused his energy more on his work with the Weathermen. Seeing Kid Montana's work as a transitional step between the two bands is a bit of a reach (though songs like "Big Little Man" definitely lean more towards an aggro-industrial side); instead, Kid Montana's work feels more of a self-contained piece, exploring a synth-dance-rock realm that's perfectly of its time. But therein lies the fault -- Temperamental feels throughout too much like something wholly of its time rather than something that rewards attention years down the line. Both Klute and Lederman bring a considerable range to the project -- Klute's singing suggests fragile but passionate vocalists like Martyn Bates while Lederman's music touches on the elegant strain of indie pop familiar from acts like Antena and Tuxedomoon at their catchiest. At many points some strikingly elegant moments surface -- the woodwind-synth and buried drums on the instrumental "Caesar's Palace" uncannily predicts where In the Nursery would soon end up, while "She Never" translates a melodramatic Phil Spector-like arrangement to a new decade with ease. But too many of the songs feel like pleasant exercises in sometimes exhausted forms -- starting the album proper with the straining neon-lit bar funk of "Still Color Waiting" sets an unfortunate tone that the album doesn't quite escape, for instance. Still, the remastering and detail in presentation is another example of LTM's skill in this field, and rarely is the collection anything less than pleasantly listenable, if not truly stellar.