Padraic Ogle brought a withering smile to goth via his Thanatos project -- his sepulchral cover of Devo's "Jocko Homo" still has to be heard to be believed -- and with Illegal Teenage Bikini he gets to work in related but slightly more varied realms than before. Not that his glowering croon has changed any, but there's a touch more play with technology evident, from the percussion programming throughout the record to the use of layer keyboard crunch and shade that suggests everything from Dance-era Gary Numan to a danker and darker Beck. The latter comparison stands forth even more when one considers the evident country and western jones also at play on the album -- "Oklahoma City Ballroom" in particular has the sound down, wry but warm lyrics and all (Ogle himself credits Ween as inspiration!). It's a nice blend with Ogle's established acoustic guitar approach, showing that the hard to pull off job of having one's cake and eating it too in the darkwave world is possible -- one can show humor and melancholy art in equal measure. The loping, looming crawl of the title track is truly creeped out no matter how one looks at it, Greg Lucas's electric guitars adding plenty of tension amid the groaning rhythms -- his spaghetti western twang throughout the album is one of the CD's best features. Both his humor and his ear for others' songs remain as before -- two songs are "I Am Not Job" and "I'm Still Not Job (remix)," while the album concludes with a fairly straight version of Billy Bragg's "Between the Wars."
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