Thieves Like Us

Again & Again

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This is the second album from Thieves Like Us, a trio consisting of two expatriate Swedes and one expatriate American who met at a picnic in East Berlin and have never been able to settle down permanently in one place since. That fact might lead you to expect music with an unsettled feel and a wide variety of influences, but if anything, it suffers at times from a certain sameness of texture and flatness of affect. That's not to say that the music isn't attractive and even heartfelt -- just that there's an almost poker-faced feeling to many of the songs, and it sometimes creates a curious counterpoint to the old-school electro bounce on which they all tend to be built. Take, for example, the sprightly but strangely cool "Never Known Love" or the slow and virtually non-melodic "Mercy." On the other hand, "The Walk" gives the proceedings a lift with synthesized harp glissandi and a gentle ska backbeat, and "Lover Lover" brings in an always welcome touch of cowbell. The album is packaged with a bonus disc of remixes, many of which emphasize the band's debt to 1980s synth pop ("Hounds of Hate's Purple Stuff" and "Forget Me Not [Cécile's Small Town Girl Mix]" both evoke New Order very explicitly) and some of which bring elements of reggae and dub to the proceedings. All in all it's a very enjoyable album, if at times a rather strange one.

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