Is This Real?

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Named after their ethereal singer (Lisa Hall), this British quartet constructs a lazy type of electro-pop on their debut album that floats nicely between commercial and aesthetic aspirations. The songs here really don't say anything that their contemporaries (who include quite a few citizens from the worlds of both Britpop and electronica) haven't already said, to both better and lesser results, but Hall herself can be a captivating vocalist. She twists herself so tightly around both the melodies and lyrics that guide Is This Real? that she often gets lost in them. As a result, she becomes an integral part of the rhythm working around and within her. And when she and the band hook onto a killer groove, like they do on the sweetly biting "Comatose," their pop aptitude overrides their electronic one with a shimmering enthusiasm that's positively catching.

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