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With the Scissor Sisters taking their campy rock revolution manifesto and running all the way up the charts with it, Fischerspooner returned in 2005 with surprisingly little hype, save that their sophomore release is "more organic" and "more rock." Odyssey is about as "rock" as New Order's synthier releases, but they're right when they say "more organic," in so much as Fischerspooner sound like a band here, one that's able to accommodate guests and deliver Linda Perry songs with conviction. Hitmaker Perry works with the duo on three breezy, "human" numbers here -- the hippy-trippy "Happy," the even more so "All We Are," and the widescreen road number "A Kick in the Teeth" -- and while they're all very pleasing, it's the handclapping funkster "Never Win" that helps the band overcome the sophomore jinx more than anything else on the album. It's the duo's "Get the Party Started," just a lot less brash and without Perry's help. If there's a "rock" influence to be found, it's in the record's pacing. Track one recalls the familiar ("Just Let Go" could be "Emerge"'s little brother), track two proves they're up to something different, track three pulls you back with an obvious hit, and then everything bounces between insular, reflective, and ambitious with spot-on pop about every third number. It feels incredibly comfortable for anyone who's enjoyed a classically constructed rock album, but the tones and temperament are still synth pop and no lover of the genre will feel betrayed. Add a cerebral set of lyrics from David Byrne for "Get Confused," a minimalist and wry poem from Susan Sontag for "We Need a War," call producer Mirwais for some help, and tack a clever Boredoms cover to the end and you've got a smart and totally successful way to follow up a "revolution or bust" debut. Odyssey is filled with vivid melodies, well-constructed soundscapes, and just the right amount of slick strangeness, but what really makes it great is that with an album so solid, it's hard to sneer at Fischerspooner. Their fabulous electro-clash revolution didn't wipe away mundane pop as promised, but Odyssey makes their transition from flag-waving fashionistas to serious, rewarding band smooth and entirely believable.

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