Kap Bambino


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Caroline Martial's explosive chirps and squeals and Orion Bouvier's danceably sinister synth beds straddle two eras -- the sheer lunatic freedom of late-‘70s post-punk and the glitchy, media-conscious aughts, like Nina Hagen's or Cabaret Voltaire's most inspired work updated (but just slightly) for modern audiences. Blacklist opens with strobed keyboards and a Satan's cheerleader vocal that assures fans that the French duo's second album will faithfully replicate the exuberant mayhem of its debut, but with a richer, fuller sound. Dour lyrics of personal crises abound, but the pummeling beats turn the anxiety actionable, as on the album's centerpiece, "Batcaves," which embodies a classic French existential attitude of motion triumphing over despair. Over an insistent hook and pogo-ready rhythm, Martial cries, "Go to the end and start again. If we wait, nothing will happen." It's not all cigarettes and Sisyphus, though. The hyper "Human Piles," which threatens to be about murder or concentration camp victims, turns out to be an ode to jumping on sofas with friends, albeit "to the point of suffocation." On the almost pretty "Blond Roses," Martial reminisces about a cemetery idyll. The breakup song "Bluescreen" stands out as the most melodic offering; over a catchy synth progression, the excitable lead singer calls for more human connection and less hiding behind technology. While the plea seems slightly ironic coming from an electro-punk outfit, there is no disguising the sincerity and humanity behind it.

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