Spoek Mathambo, from South Africa, is willing to try just about anything. On first album for Sub Pop, Mathambo raps and sings; he dabbles in post-punk, dub, electro; there are township jive-style guitars and grime-style beat-bursts; there are protests against the blood-diamond trade (“Put Some Red On It”) and laments about what a bummer it is to have to work for a living (“We Can Work”). It’s an admirably energetic hodgepodge which, at its best — in the skittering “Venison Fingers” and the synth-smeared title track — manages to be both danceable and eerie. But Mathambo is at best a serviceable singer-rapper, and the record is so all over the place, so mercurial from song to song and even bar to bar, a listener never gets a chance to settle in and grab hold.
• Photos: Random Notes