Fiction Romance, Fast Machines

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Where everyone else sat around bitching and moaning while waiting endlessly for Elastica to release a second album, the Rondelles took matters into their own hands and essentially cut the follow-up themselves: Fiction Romance, Fast Machines picks up exactly where Elastica left off, delivering spiky, New Wave-influenced punk-pop blessed with irresistible hooks and attitude to spare. Singer Juliet even sounds uncannily like Justine Frischmann; still, the Rondelles are just too good to suffer dismissal as little more than impersonators -- highlights like "Distraction," "Shanghai Surprise" and "Do It for Me" positively crackle with energy, possessing a spirit and exuberance all their own. Let's just hope the Rondelles' own follow-up is much quicker in forthcoming.

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