Poly Styrene

Generation Indigo

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As her backing band drives home an uptempo R&B beat -- or at least the new wave era’s idea of an R&B beat -- punk veteran Poly Styrene sings her manifesto, “Well you can call me a bitch, or a bit of a witch/But I would say I’m just a little bit kitsch.” Infectious and bouncy as anything her old punk band X-Ray Spex ever played in front of a pogoing crowd, “Kitsch” is just one of the many highlights on Styrene’s 2011 return, Generation Indigo, an album that embraces the future with a healthy dose of skepticism. The synth pop single “Virtual Boyfriend” is a tongue-in-cheek love song for the social networking generation, while the rock-disco rave-up “I Luv Ur Sneakers” is the Spex’s “Obsessed with You” all grown up yet still young at heart. The simple pleas for peace and “L.U.V.” are catchy, charming, and meaningful miniatures that help anchor the album after all the subtle satire, but the biggest gift comes in the form of “Electric Blue Monsoon,” a kitsch-meets-Krishna number from the woman who first combined the two. A welcome return that’s forward-looking at the same time is rare, but the tragic irony of Generation Indigo is that singer/songwriter died of breast cancer just weeks after the album was released in the U.K., and on the very day it landed in the U.S. Still, she is the strong and bittersweet angel of truth to the very end, consoling fans here with “Luv is what we were conceived of/Luv is how we’ll disappear” before repeating “No more fear/No more fear.” With every manifesto being tempered by a transforming mantra, Generation Indigo is quintessential Styrene.

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