NME – Mondo ’77
22nd April 2000
Record Review

The first Looper recording since main man Stuart David finally cut loose the apron strings from Belle & Sebastian, ‘Mondo ‘77’ is a fine slice of garage (as in actually recorded in a garage) dance music.
A jaunty stomp of Bontempi beats, half-speed house piano and off-key ska horns, it sounds not unlike Pigbag’s classic ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag’ might’ve done, had it been recorded by a bunch of sensitive Scots types, all blootered on Buckfast, Schweet.
If Looper’s first LP ‘Up a Tree’ sounded fatally twee, like the self-conscious disco side-project of a bunch of terminal indie kids, then ‘Mondo ‘77’ suggests that the Looper massive are finally loosening up and realising that the best dance music aims squarely for the feet. Could be a Tom Tom Club for the 21st century.

Stevie Chick

record reviews

If the thought of child-song and trees houses curls your fingers into a fist, then Looper’s spaceboy dream is not for you. Chief Looper Stuart David is, after all, the Other Stuart in Belle & Sebastian(he actually wrote ‘Spaceboy Dream’ on the last record)and he brings with him the wide-eyed worldview of that Brit-lauded outfit.
The odd tale of how Looper- Stuart David, his artist wife Karn, and his photographer brother Ronnie – came to be is told on ‘Impossible Things #2’: a girl called Karen starts writing to a boy she doesn’t even know. He dubs her Wee Karn and seven years on they are man, wife and multimedia outfit. It’s a charming yarn, if you vanquish all cynicism – and Looper are all about doing just that. What’s remarkable, though, is that this modern-day fairy tale is buoyed along by crackling breakbeats, a flute loop, a quacking harmonica and a sticky-fingered sense of fun that infects the entire record.
For Loooper’s musical charms are actually far greater than those of the little scenarios that David narrates like a U-rated Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap. For all the appeal of the stories – the one about the moon landings being faked (‘Dave The Moonman’), for instance, or the one about meeting Columbo (‘Columbo’s Car’) – it’s the deft beats, synth burbles and sampled loops underpinning them that inspire. This is a record in love with childhood, but its cheeky groove is often closer to the mash-up of big beat than it is to the fey gambol of Looper’s precious ancestors, with the ‘Ballad Of Ray Suzuki’, for example, sounding like Bentley Rhythm Ace in short trousers.
‘Up A Tree’ is a spaceboy’s dream made real: the future, all shiny with buttons and things, brought down to earth, child-sized.   It’s hard to resist.
8/10

Kitty Empire

NME – Up A Tree 06/03/1999
March 1999