Dear Enemy

Ransom Note

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Dear Enemy was plagued by recording a single, "Computer One," that overwhelmed the rest of their limited discography. "Computer One," a song about lost love powered by a flush of early-'80s keyboards, begins Ransom Note, and it heightens expectations that are not fulfilled. Dear Enemy sounds confused throughout much of Ransom Note, yearning for synth pop while developing an unfortunate crush on radio-friendly mainstream rock. Ron Martini's raspy vocals have an affecting tone on "Computer One" and "A Bit of Your Heart"; however, on other tracks it resembles the slick, empty voice of John Parr. On "All Through the Night," Dear Enemy can't decide if they want to be Ultravox or an arena band. "On the Line" aims for Robert Palmer's hard-driving pop but crashes into a heap of clich├ęs. "The Good Life," "Talking to You," and "Restless" would be listenable if "Computer One" hadn't shown that Dear Enemy was capable of writing better material. The laid-back "A Bit of Your Heart" might trigger unintentional laughter because its chorus can easily be misheard as "I just want to bit off your heart." Most of Ransom Note is embarrassingly dated; fans of '80s cheese will have plenty to snack on. Otherwise, skip the LP and look for the "Computer One" single instead.

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