LA Spark

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Kraftwerk had said it, and you can look to the other arts and it holds true, but there's an ease to making music with a point-and-click computer, and that can blunt creativity. Besides that, analog lets a bit more of the "human" feel through with loose grooves offering their own a unique appeal, an appeal that's delivered in avant '80s and industrial-electro style by the magnificent nostalgic/futuristic conundrum called Wrangler. Featuring Cabaret Voltaire's Stephen Mallinder, Tunng's Phil Winter, plus producer and frequent John Foxx collaborator Benge, Wrangler hold instant appeal for anyone who wore out the Cabs Red Mecca or Crackdown albums back in the day. Plus, they truly feel like a band, injecting that human error into machine-controlled music and coming up with something that's downtown and funky. The sound spectrum features that modern punch, and even if the machines are analog, they can play some contemporary tricks, but the groove of "Lava Land" harkens back to early, early Devo while the title cut glides and pings as if D.A.F. and Front 242 were holding a jam session. As flashy and upfront as those '80s references are, Mallinder's vocals are the usual restrained, whispered incantations that have long fit this sinister disco so well. Winter and Benge often seem to be living out their fantasy of being Cabaret Voltaire members as the bloops, the bubbles, and the time-rips are all familiar devices, but so be it, and more please, and another listen for this one as well.

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