Throughout their decade-plus career, Mouse on Mars' Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner have engaged in a very focused kind of wandering. They've moved from the frothy textures of Vulvaland and Iaora Tahiti to the busier, drum'n'bass-inflected Autoditacker to the playful pastoralism of Niun Niggung to Idiology's rubbery, eclectic pop while, paradoxically, crafting a sound that is distinctively Mouse on Mars. On Radical Connector, Toma, St. Werner, and percussionist/vocalist Dodo Nkishi once again build on what they've done before and take it in a very different direction. The album is more overtly pop than anything they've done before -- each of the tracks features vocals, a first on a Mouse on Mars album -- but also harder-edged and more overtly electronic than work such as Idiology. As clichéd as it may be to say it, the album's title conveys its aesthetic perfectly: tracks like "Mine Is in Yours" and "Spaceship" build on Idiology's most radically jittery tracks like "Actionist Respoke" and "Introduce," but take this sound in an immediate, danceable direction. And while the frostbitten, pristine beauty of "Send Me Shivers" -- featuring guest vocalist Niobe -- borders on the alien, it's never alienating. But even the album's most delicate, intellectual moments don't feel as detached as Mouse on Mars' past work; Radical Connector has more guts and soul than what has come before it. Nkishi feels more integrated into this album than he did on Idiology, and his blunt, raspy vocals provide some of Radical Connector's best tracks. Nkishi's voice is the perfect canvas for Toma and St. Werner to tweak, particularly on the bouncy, oddly tribal "Blood Comes," where he croaks "it's interrrrrrrupted" over increasingly busy layers of himself and a relentless beat. Things get even crazier on "All the Old Powers," a witchy track built around Nkishi's trippy ramblings and a beat that sounds like it was made from kicking doors open and throwing things against the wall. Best of all, though, is "Wipe That Sound," a funky, evocative track that's both sweaty and smart. By the time the glacially gorgeous closer, "Evoke an Object," finishes, it's hard to believe that Radical Connector is only nine tracks long; the album is so concentrated that it feels much bigger. This may not be Mouse on Mars' most ambitious album, but it's among the group's most successful -- it's not at all difficult to feel a connection to this truly intelligent dance music.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares