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The sound of synth pop duo Woodhands is often reminiscent of the electronic popsters who lit up the British charts in the ‘80s, but not the Beach Boys-with-Minimoogs melodicism of circa 1981 Depeche Mode and Human League. Rather, the historical precedent for the sounds of Remorsecapade can be found in the more dance-oriented turn U.K. electro-pop started taking a bit later with the likes of Bronski Beat, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, et al. Sequencers and dance beats are front and center on a good portion of this Canadian outfit's third album, but they're balanced out by a more contemporary, electroclash-derived approach that brims with in-your-face attitude and punky energy. At times, that attitude threatens to turn sour and corrosive, as on lyrically and sonically abrasive cuts like "Sluts" and "Coolchazine," but on such tunes as "Dissembler," which boasts an appealing guest vocal from fellow Canuck Maylee Todd, and the low-key "I Want to Be Together," things take on a more palatable, somewhat Postal Service-like tinge. A major part of what the twosome (singer/synth-twiddler Dan Werb and drummer Paul Banwatt) strives for on-stage is a visceral attack that puts the lie to common preconceptions about the emotional aridity of synth pop ensembles, but while that modus operandi may be satisfying in a live situation, on Remorsecapade, the extra edge Woodhands adds can sometimes go too far into the red, becoming irritating rather than inspiring. The duo might do well to focus on the more pop-savvy side of their sound, which holds a fair amount of promise.

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