The Static Age

Blank Screens

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The Static Age dig deeply into their stash of new wave idioms for 2006's derivative but evocative sophomore album, Blank Screens. The Cure, Ultravox, New Order, even the Police, have recognizable idiosyncrasies pilfered, hopped up, and cleverly re-imagined by the album's nine tracks with truly shameless poker faces. Let's see: there's "The Bluebird Room" (Tears for Fears), "Lights in the Attic" (think a tepid '80s Peter Gabriel), "Count the Dead" (not a bad U2 karaoke), and then they really cross the line with bass-heavy numbers like the title track and "Skyscrapers," where one can almost see Robert Smith reaching for his lawyer's phone number! Best of all, though, is when they splice the Cure with Rush (!!!) for the album standout "Marilyn" -- a stunt so over-the-top brazen that plagiarism finally does feel like too strong a word. And, come to think of it, by hook or by crook, the fact is the Static Age do possess rather good songwriting instincts, revisionist though they might be. So if you can leave your memories at the door and forgive their trespassing ways, don't be surprised if you find yourself humming along to Blank Screens like a familiar old favorite.

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