Regurgitator

Unit

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On their second album, Regurgitator changed their musical direction completely, going from the guitar-based alternative rock found on Tu-Plang to the '80s-style synthesizer pop found here on Unit. The change is an interesting one. It makes Regurgitator more commercial-sounding, but also infinitely more listenable. Pleasant, melodic pop songs take over from Tu-Plang's hip hop/metal/funk disasters like "Couldn't Do It." The question is, does this make their music any the better? The simple answer is: no, it doesn't. Regurgitator think their music is one big running joke: throw in juvenile song titles ("I Will Lick Your Arsehole" is just one of several distasteful examples from this album), the odd expletive here and there, and then pretend that you hate the music industry and that commercial success is all so tiresome. And, if it wasn't for the fact that Regurgitator is one of Australia's most popular acts, and are never shy when it comes to media exposure, you'd almost feel sorry for them.

Listening to Unit will help you get over any feelings of sympathy, though. It's a collection of songs that are so based in 1980s synthesizer pop that you'd be tempted to think you were playing the wrong disc. Opening with "I Like Your Old Stuff Better than Your New Stuff," those zany guys are trying to pre-empt any backlash from fans regarding their musical change in direction. If it's such a bold step forward, why apologize for it? Elsewhere, the songs remain catchy, even if the lyrics remain puerile. "Black Bugs," a song about video games, is a rare standout. "Polyester Girl" and "! (The Song Formerly Known As)" are also highlights, even if the latter doesn't have much to distinguish it from the 1980s Prince songs it tries so hard to make fun of. These three songs, along with "Everyday Formula" became Australian radio hits, which will no doubt have the band writing even more songs about the trials of commercial success while simultaneously laughing over the size of their bank balances. If you want to listen to bands with a sense of humor, listen to T.I.S.M. or They Might Be Giants. If you want to listen to '80s Prince, listen to Prince. If you want a pale imitation of both, listen to Unit.

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