The Eye

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When Swiss experimental duo Yello first broke onto the scene in the early '80s, their brand of adventurous but danceable pop music was pretty unique; most experimental music wasn't quite so accessible, and most music considered "dance" music wasn't quite so...odd. In the 23 years between that first album and 2003's The Eye, it's no surprise that a lot has changed; unfortunately, Yello hasn't changed enough to stay ahead of the times, and consequently all of the electronic experimentalists who owed a debt to this innovative band have since shot far past, bringing far more bizarre sounds into the mainstream. Most of the material here is undeniably Yello, with keyboard-driven atmospheric backing and Dieter Meier's unmistakable (and occasionally oddball) vocals on top. It's a pleasantly familiar listen for those who grew up enjoying Stella and One Second's more mainstream numbers, but that's all it is: the band rarely dips into the more experimental aspects of either of those earlier albums, and sonically there's very little here that couldn't have been done in those earlier days. The one real exception on The Eye is the opening cut, "Planet Dada," which adds a cut-up feel to the vocals even while keeping the music frustratingly familiar. The frustration is underscored all the more with the remixed version of "Planet Dada" that closes the album out; digital manipulator Akufen's chopped and spliced version of the track is a vast improvement on the original track, and far more in the spirit of early-'80s Yello than anything the band itself has done in nearly two decades.

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