Perfect Life

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Although this album, the duo's first, will inevitably be filed under electro in the shop racks, Perfect Life is far removed from the current crop of slick club fare chasing digitized beats around the grooves. While certainly alluding to modern styles and sounds, former Cure man Lol Tolhurst remains delightfully wedded to the past. Like the record geek who gleefully shows off the dusty treasures from his collection, Tolhurst too is tossing forth touchstones of sounds and styles long gone. Check out the Giorgio Moroder bassline he nudges on "Sadman" or, wink wink, the tinkling Cure-esque keyboard part on "Lost," then grin as he unveils the pulsing synth riff on "Hope," a must-have sound for every late-'70s/'80s band in the land. Which is not to suggest this set is a clever collection of blasts from the past. In fact, it's a highly coherent selection of electro numbers that range from clubby dance songs to more ambient soundscapes, some instrumental, others given added atmospheres by Cindy Levinson's dreamy vocals. The emphasis is on the highly textured rhythms that run a spectrum from edgy minimalistic tattoos to tribal beats, subtle industrial clatter to the big throbbing rhythm found on "Behind Me," which flutters like the wings of a 747-sized cicada. Ethereal auras blend with dance rhythms, past and futuristic sounds rub shoulders, while on "Sad Man" a sitar haunts the factory floor. Shimmering with delicate atmospheres, filled with supple and subtle effects, Perfect Life is indeed nigh-on perfect.

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