If they were a breakfast cereal, electronic duo Mouse on Mars would surely be rice crispies: mixing genres and twisting their sound into odder and odder shapes until it snap-crackle-and-pops the listener from all sides, always great for the headphones! IDM doesn’t always make for an easy listen and the frenetic pace and edginess of much of MOM’s oeuvre is at times easier to admire than enjoy, at least without the requisite shots of caffeine, but Jan Werner and Andi Toma’s restlessness has only added to their longevity, constantly trying new things while others seem to short-circuit. 2004′s Radical Connector oozed with great dance numbers, with ‘Send Me Shivers’ and chanteuse Niobe offering a vision of pop utopia which was too hot to handle for many. Their last studio venture, Varchaz in 2006, was all wilful experimentation, jagged edges and so-called “complextronica”, and in their latest project Paeanumnion (= Pandemonium?) – a live show and electro-extravaganza with Machinefabriek performed at the Barbican last November – the pair used software they’d developed themselves to toy with an orchestra in real time. So plenty of sonic places for Mouse On Mars to explore and no sign of any slowing down on Parastrophics, an excitingly diverse collection of club and pop music which condenses 15 years of innovation into one of the German duo’s most accessible releases to date.

Opening tracks ‘The Beach Stop’ and ‘Chordblocker’ seem to be reminiscing, with the same sort of ambient glitch stuff as on their excellent second album Iaora Tahiti from 1995, but one senses it’s some kind of private joke to throw the listener off the scent. The former mixes the sort of odd electronic noises MOM have trademarked with sex kitten vocals and slivers of analog synths, but this swiftly segues into the second, more upbeat, hip-hop number with jazzy vocals from their longtime collaborator, drummer Dodo Nkishi. This is the closest you’ll get to nostalgia from Werner and Toma, and intentions are much clearer on ‘Metropy’ which crunches into gear with a techno-driven beat. Along with ‘Wienuss’ you’d have to have been living in a cave for the last decade not to notice the tracks’ similarity to Daft Punk, but this kind of stuff morphs into many forms before you can shout… ‘They Know Your Name’, more carnival-like and bounding along with an electronic metronomic chant, before ‘Syncropticians’ slows the tempo down slightly with spacey Warp-esque ambience. ‘Cricket’, ‘Imatch’ and ‘Polaroyce’ are more typical of the album’s undercurrents, pushing the boat out with some cooked-up electro-funk; and they save the best (and weirdest!) to last, with ‘Baku-Hipster’ sounding like a Prince-MIA hybrid and ‘Seaqz’ drawing things to a close with a bubble-wrapped ‘Born Slippy’ for the space age. The bleeps on the closer remind us of the group’s IDM antecedents but the sheer visceral thrill of the club beat tells us to stop worrying and have a good time. They’ve suspended a moment in the middle, like in the Trainspotting movie, throwing the pace off slightly before they bring it back to a climax… ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ anybody?

Dizzyingly multi-faceted, Mouse On Mars were never meant to be taken straight, and anyway caffeine doesn’t stay in the bloodstream long. Werner and Toma sound as excited today as they did when they started (their debut Vulvaland was released all the way back in 1994), and their wildly inventive electronic music simply refuses to chill out. Parastrophics is that rare thing: an IDM album that snaps, crackles and pops with life, it’s a right royal headfuck, so you can’t help having a good time with it. If these guys ever grow up it would be a real shame for dance music…