'Under the Balcony' is the second album from Berlin duo Chica and the Folder following 2003s '42 Mädchen', and reunites musicians Paula Schopf and Max Loderbauer. Schopf being a well-known Berlin DJ (part of Gudrun Gut's Ocean Club collective incidentally) and Loderbauer being an influential producer (he was one half of electronica pioneers Sun Electric!) there shouldn't be any problem for either of them to drum up some intriguing sounds, but little could prepare you for the electroid avant-pop onslaught of 'Under the Balcony'. Taking cues from hazy 80s pop much in the same way as the Junior Boys, Schopf and Loderbauer proceed to inject elements of the connecting 25 years of music - dub techno, minimal, psychedelic folk, experimental, noise - across twelve tracks, and in pure veterans style each track is totally unpredictable. Schopf's bottomless musical knowledge and Loderbauer's technical know-how makes for some quite stunning collisions of style 'Sacrificio' for example, takes a stuttering vocal and chunky overdriven beat and then introduces some folky acoustic guitar, and 'Souffle' manages to take shuffling minimal techno to the Middle East (it just has to be heard!). The inventiveness and imagination lavished across this album in fact puts many to shame, and while the experiments aren't always 100% successful, it has so much conviction and so much creativity you are prepared to forgive it occasional missteps. Those of you who like your pop music to come from the left, check this without delay...