The Epoxies

My New World

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Portland, Oregon's Epoxies are the queens and kings of the post-millennial new wave revival, infusing their take on early-'80s synth pop with sharp, punky hooks and smarter songwriting than most of their counterparts can manage. My New World takes the bratty pop-punk with electronics sound, perfected on earlier albums The Epoxies and Stop the Future, and matures it into an equally retro but far more sophisticated form of pop. Just as many of the original new wave kids grew into more mainstream but no less catchy songsmiths, the Epoxies are unafraid to tackle the Top 40 mainstream on My New World; that the Top 40 they're shooting for is that of, say, the summer of 1985 is just part of what makes them so awesome. As a result, the Pat Benatar-like power ballad "Here in the Dark" is both conceptually perfect and a great, catchy pop song that emphasizes Roxy Epoxy's increasingly solid vocal skills, and the brash "Crystal Clear" sounds like it could have been the great lost single from the Go-Go's' underrated bid for artistic maturity Talk Show. Elsewhere, the anthemic feel and ironic anti-nostalgia of the title track and the chilly synth-futurism of the Lene Lovich-like "Products" ("They make me smart and sexy/They get my toilet clean/I can't be happy without products") are closer in intent to the Epoxies' earlier material, but they're presented with a finer eye for detail, and the straightforward reading of the Wipers' punky nugget "Tragedy" that closes the album shows sincere appreciation for the musical history of their hometown of Portland, Oregon. Surprisingly, at a time when most of the new wave revivalists are fading out, the Epoxies keep getting better.

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