Zoot Woman

Living in a Magazine

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Operating in a vein similar to that of Phoenix's United, Living in a Magazine is a delightful, endearing slice of retro synth pop from Zoot Woman. Where Phoenix sometimes feels a bit like progressive rockers Steely Dan, Zoot Woman seeks inspiration in the Human League, New Order, and Kraftwerk. Les Rhythmes Digitales' Stuart Price clearly plays a key role in the band, but he reins in his funky electronic musings, allowing the album to take on a subtle, jazzy feel as it honors the sound of 1980s synth pop. Zoot Woman exercises more restraint here than many of the band's retro peers. Where a group like Ladytron hammers home its analog sound as if with sledgehammers, Zoot Woman uses a soft mallet of sonic curve balls, echoing its influences but sounding refreshingly modern. The lyrics are light and often quite humorous. "Jessie, please don't go," feels like an answer to Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl." "Chicago, Detroit, L.A." effortlessly mixes stuttered samples, trip-hop vibes, and electro energy. "It's Automatic," "Information First," and "You and I" sound so similar to Phoenix that one wonders if Zoot Woman is a Phoenix tribute band. "The Model" is a nice take on one of Kraftwerk's best songs; it's catchy and quite danceable. Living in a Magazine has enough tempo changes and mood swings to hold one's interest and, even though it feels like a lesser cousin to United, it's a link to the past that's worthy of exploration.

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