Ms. John Soda

While Talking

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Stefanie Böhm and Micha Acher (the latter a former member of the Notwist) follow up their debut album as Ms. John Soda with this four-track EP (which also includes, in addition to the four new songs, a medley/remix by Subtle of several tracks from their first album). The pair's sound owes an explicit debt to 1980s new wave, often sounding a bit like a broken-down version of the Cars with fewer hooks. That specific influence is felt most strongly on "No. One," the EP's lead track, with its chugging eight-note rhythmic pattern. Elsewhere you'll hear hints of the Residents, maybe, or a less-definable lounge influence ("If Someone Would Know"). Throughout, you'll find yourself kind of wishing that Böhm didn't feel the need to write in English; her reconstruction of a posthumous conversation between Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe is especially weak, filled with bland and generic conversational snippets that sound like they were pulled at random out of a tourist phrase book. There are some fine moments here, but taken as a whole, this EP isn't anything to get especially excited about.

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