Client

City

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Opening with the hackneyed "life is cruel and then you die" offers little hope that Client's City is going to hold much appeal to all those who don't get the whole business suit/latex glove stance of the group -- or get it but think it's tired. Good news is Client tries harder by pulling back on City, and anyone with an electro-'80s fetish is going to find plenty to drool over. The icy and tawdry tunes are tempered with Yaz-esque sereneness, "One Day at a Time" and "The Chill of October" being the pleasant and grand respites of the album. "Theme" is their best beat yet, and the simple "Radio" is nothing if not infectious. The exchange between Client B and the Libertines' Carl Barat on "Pornography" makes a cool case that monogamy can be thrilling, while the other Libertine on the album -- Pete Doherty -- gets nothing but a silly chant on "Down to the Underground." Getting the Libertine's tumultuous couple on the same album in 2004 is City's big surprise, but the high-on-concept duo is now offering more than just clever. On their debut, it was hard to separate them from everyone else who took the "we're not electroclash" stance, and then defined the genre whenever they turned a synth on. Now, thoughtful production, meatier music, and broader scope makes City worth hearing.

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