Adult.

D.U.M.E.

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First of all, that title: is it pronounced "doom" or "do me"? Either way of saying it applies to this six-song EP, which is Adult.'s first release on Thrill Jockey (fear not, Ersatz Audio fans, Adult. will continue to release music on their own imprint). Granted, Adult. has made a cottage industry of crafting dystopian sounds so chilly and vicious that they're freakishly alluring -- à la J.G. Ballard's "Warm Leatherette"-inspiring novel Crash -- but on D.U.M.E., Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus feel less like voyeurs and more like active participants (or perpetrators) in their songs' scenarios. This more immediate feeling can be attributed to the fact that Miller and Kuperus developed most of D.U.M.E.'s songs by playing them in concert; the hissy rhythms, cavernous basslines, and occasional prickly guitars that dominate the EP are boiled down to on-the-road simplicity. The biggest difference from Adult.'s previous work, though, comes from Kuperus' vocals; instead of the detached, sometimes disdainful delivery she normally uses, on D.U.M.E. she howls like a banshee, to theatrical, and occasionally hilarious, effect. When Kuperus sings "dirty double-crosser/don't you know that's not nice to do?" on "The End," she sounds like a villain gloating before going in for the kill. D.U.M.E.'s witchy, heavily eyelinered approach may appeal more to fans of bands like Numbers or Ersatz Audio's own Tamion 12 Inch than admirers of Adult.'s normally sleek, distant neo-electro, but the harsh, nervous allure of tracks like "Don't Talk (Redux)" and "Hold Your Breath" is undeniable.

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