When Chic told dancers to find a spot out on the floor and "Awwwwww, freak out!" it's doubtful the group expected anyone to take it quite as literally as MU frontwoman Mutsumi Kanamori. Like a career diva on a perpetual comedown, Kanamori hits the ground (make that four-on-the-floor) ranting. With broken-English belligerence, the Japanese-born banshee sets the tone of MU's second album, Out of Breach, within seconds, greeting listeners with, "Welcome to MU world, bitch!" No mere firecracker, she's a hand grenade.
Less explosive but just as unpredictable is Kanamori's musical and domestic partner, Maurice Fulton, a producer whose sense of dance music history extends well beyond his origins as a straight-up house producer since the mid-Nineties. Certainly, house is his home -- Out of Breach's two most instantly likable songs, the title track and the star-struck first single "Paris Hilton," both salute early Chicago house trax such as Adonis's "No Way Back" with their rubber ball bounce, bitch-slapping handclaps, and hissing high hats. But Fulton also lovingly spits out rhythmic, broken-beat tracks that recall the bass-heavy, disco-not-disco of ESG.
Fulton's percussion obsession perfectly synergizes with Kanamori's shenanigans. He props her up with propulsive live drums while she's "Throwing Up," his Super Mario Bros. melody eventually uplifting her to the song's moral: "Don't blame it on tomorrow, look after your body." But the moment where she calls the toilet her "best friend" is just one in a series of bad times. Fulton lets her get out her rage ("You a fake muthafucka!" and "Suck my dick!") during the ominous first half of "Stop Bothering Michael Jackson," and even adds to the fun, shredding synths to match the razorblades in her throat. But, like any responsible partner, he keeps her in check as she washes away midsong to a placid tide of Liquid Liquid bass and a loving piano melody.
Kanamori frets more about pop culture ("Leave Michael Jackson alone, you stupid bitch!") than her real-life nemesis, former boss and Tigersushi head Charles Hagelsteen, who gets a relatively even-tempered tongue-lashing on "Tiger Bastard." By conveying her truth so flamboyantly, she brings a sense of over-the-top spectacle to her confessional lyricism. Like Kate Bush in a K-hole, or a Godzilla-size Courtney Love, she's eagerly and inherently ridiculous. Fulton, a righteous partner-in-camp, shares the enthusiasm (an eight-bit rumba here, a dorky game-show breakdown there), ensuring that everything has a good beat and you can laugh to it.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.