At the Risk of Sounding Pretentious

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Lifestyle's flamboyantly funny debut At the Risk of Sounding Pretentious presents their knowing take on the cheesy, grandiose synth-pop of new wave faves like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Naked Eyes, and, especially, ABC. Musically, these new romantics play it more or less straight, reveling in the style's funky basslines, tinny, prefab beats, and schmaltzy keyboards, but lyrics like "your suit is looking marvy but those heels are insane" and "let's ruin our lives together" are so tongue-in-cheek, it's a wonder singer Sean T. Drinkwater was able to deliver them. At their best, on songs such as the ABC-riffic "White Whale" and "J.C. Penney Model," the swooning, epic ballad "Lover; Lawyer," and the completely over-the-top bonus track that sings the praises of toast, Lifestyle is an inspired mix of musical and lyrical insouciance. Though At the Risk of Sounding Pretentious tends to run out of steam as it unfolds, new wave junkies will enjoy picking up the references in the little riffs that fill each song, like the Naked Eyes-esque bells on "That Sounds Like Love." As self-indulgent and bombastic as a real new romantic album -- but intentionally so -- At the Risk Oo Sounding Pretentious should appeal to anyone who likes new wave enough to make fun of it.

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