Twelve years and six full-lengths into their career, Groove Armada have produced their dark album, a record that translates the dense, frenzied sound of Anglo-American dance-pop of the 2000s into the context of the duo's highly stylized productions. There's a clear focus to the record, too, virtually all of it centered on mainstream dance of the '80s hi-NRG synth pop variety, including nods to Bronski Beat, Soft Cell, and Human League. Although there aren't as many varied guest-star vocal features as in the past, Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry and Pop Idol Will Young are taken along, and a young female vocalist named SaintSaviour makes her debut. Aside from the stars, her contributions form the bulk of the record, with mixed results: "I Won't Kneel" sounds derivative of Goldfrapp gone hi-NRG, but SaintSaviour redeems herself on "Paper Romance," a clear winner for a single with its pinging synths recalling the heady days of "Smalltown Boy."
Black Light Review
by John Bush