Supergroups can be a tricky proposition -- the more baggage a well-known artist brings along to a project, the more there is to live up to, and the less likely it is that a vital new band dynamic can be created. On their debut album, Command V have neatly sidestepped this problem. While the group brings together two leading lights of the late-'70s/early-'80s New York underground post-punk/No Wave scene, the members' backgrounds are as virtually unknown in the mainstream world as they are influential to the cognoscenti. Bush Tetras singer Cynthia Sley and Raybeats/8-Eyed Spy guitarist Pat Irwin are the old-school No Wavers in question who came together to create music in a new era along with keyboardist Rachel Dengiz. While Irwin and Sley's past isn't entirely inaudible on the band's self-titled debut album, Command V seems to be about doing something fresh rather than rehashing old glories. If anything, there's a bit more of a Bush Tetras tinge to a few of the tracks here than traces of 8-Eyed Spy's punk-jazz or the Raybeats' postmodern surf rock. Naturally, Sley's distinctive voice can't completely shed its unique sonic fingerprints, and the dance leaning of some songs is in keeping with the Bush Tetras' punk-funk legacy. But ultimately, this is a totally contemporary-sounding effort -- Dengiz's keyboards turn out to be the defining instrumental element, and a fair number of the cuts tend toward a decidedly 21st century dance/electronic approach that meshes perfectly with Sley's moody vocals and Irwin's seemingly endless arsenal of subtly textured guitar tones. Taken a track at a time, Command V's debut might seem like something of a schizophrenic beast, moving as it does between the likes of Eurodisco groove monster "Turn the Key" and the Eastern-flavored, acoustic "Bob Dylan Put Me Down," but somehow the band achieves an organic flow over the course of the record, simply sounding like one creature with many musical arms.
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AllMusic Review by James Allen