Seventh Wave


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A leap forward from their debut, this album shows the duo taking on extended song structures and a more varied and much improved vocal style. At times the material sounds like a precursor to the Buggles, as in the slick synths and harmonized vocals of the opening track, "Return to Foreverland." Their better material comes late in the album, though, with Elliot's writhing, serpentine sibilance in "Astral Animal," and the bubbling synth and Spanish percussion of the instrumental "El Tooto." The best is saved for last, with the closing epics "Camera Obscura" and "Star Palace of the Sombre Warrior." The latter's somber arrangement -- of synths, spoken word, and choir voices -- breaks unexpectedly into a lovely moment of grace, where there's nothing but a ticking clock and a music box.

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