Following a nearly four-year string of club hits, iio's debut album was released concurrent with the announcement of the duo's dissolution. It's a pity, because Poetica is an intriguing blend of club-oriented dance beats and a surprising amount of pure pop songwriting smarts. Producer and songwriter Markus Moser knows his way around a sequencer, but rather than letting a bunch of electronic pulses run for six or seven minutes apiece, Moser has taken an approach similar to early Saint Etienne: these are conventionally structured pop songs first and dance tracks second. The gathered single sides, "Kiss You," "Rapture," "Smooth," and "At the End," are here in new and more pop-oriented mixes that show off not only Moser's knack for melody, but also the duo's key asset: singer Nadia Ali's alluring purr of a voice. Not one for diva-style showiness, Ali favors the Dusty Springfield model of seemingly effortless soul, and the best songs here -- the outstanding "Is It Love" foremost among those not already released as singles -- are dance-pop of the highest caliber. On the hypnotic, trancey epic "Chastity," Moser throws a bone to club/dance purists, but for the most part Poetica is a pop record, and a fine one.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason