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June 12, 2024

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Relaxed Muscle
The Heavy EP (Rough Trade)

By: Cam Lindsay

There is a lot of mystery behind who is responsible for Relaxed Muscle. A duo consisting of Darren Spooner (vocals) and Jason Buckle (music), Relaxed Muscle sounds suspiciously of what a indie pop star might resort to after numerous reports of his band's break up. The pop star in question is Jarvis Cocker, who plays down the accusations, yet it's very clear that whoever Spooner is, he sounds deadpan to Mr. Cocker. And knowing that Cocker is a fan of the band Suicide and trying new and obscure styles of music (most notably his tribute to Lee Hazlewood in a solo performance last year), Relaxed Muscle is a perfect outlet for him. "The Heavy" EP is a smoldering three song effort that sees the man with the voice (although slightly distorted to protect his identity) providing witty banter over top of some very Suicide sounds. "The Heavy" is a slow moving, sexy tribute to "He's Not Heavy, He's My Brother". Spooner's delivery is entertaining, if not a little humorous at times (the subject matter being responsible for a lot of that). It's two accompanying tracks are the buzz saw synthesized "Rod Of Iron", which sounds like Add N To (X ) with a proper vocalist, and "Branded", the closest thing to a pop song this EP has. With Damon Albarn using Gorillaz as an anonymous outlet for his hip-hop side and Cocker with Relaxed Muscle to explore his obscure taste in dance music, all we need now is something wildly inventive and creative from the Gallaghers and we're all set. B+
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