Lene Lovich

Flex

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Lene Lovich's sophomore album, 1980's Flex, found her still dabbling in her own quirky wave-driven waters. Her second full-length release in less than a year, it was packed with another handful of brilliantly composed songs of neo-wave intention. Unfortunately, it also marked the end of the British public's love affair with Lovich's admittedly edgy art. The octave-scaling "Bird Song," released some months ahead of the main attraction, should have been a smash, but failed absurdly. The innocent and singalong-able (except for Lovich's record-shattering instrumental vocal additions, of course) "Angels" followed it into obscurity, and that despite standing as one of Flex's best offerings. A delicious cover of Frankie Valli's "The Night" rounds out the album's most spellbinding moments, but elsewhere, things get sticky. Flex's biggest drawback is that it suffers somewhat from Lovich's own success. Stateless...Plus was remarkable because its sounds were so new. Flex merely reiterates them, and Lovich relies a little too heavily on rehashing earlier triumphs, most notably on the too-gimmicky "Monkey Talk," a Stateless...Plus-era outtake that had previously been released on a giveaway promo album, and the gratuitously irritating "You Can't Kill Me." Lovich herself appeared to share her audience's ill ease over the album's lack of progression; not only did Flex mark the end of her commercial era, it also prefaced two years of public silence and private re-evaluation before she would return.

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