The Au Pairs

Sense and Sensuality

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On their second album, the Au Pairs were very much in tune with the growth pangs of the punk/new wave scene as a whole in the early '80s. In stripping their music to a funkier, more rhythmic essence, and shifting the focus of their lyrics to the personal rather than the political, they lost some of the direct impact (and critical acclaim) of their debut. Musically, however, things were actually more interesting. The addition of horns and imaginative synthesizers allowed for more satisfying sonic diversity. The words were still confrontational, but more obscure in their intent. Although occasionally political (as in the blunt anti-Reagan screed "America"), they were far more concerned with questioning sex/relationship roles (as in "Sex Without Stress," "Intact," and "Instant Touch"). The record didn't get as much attention as their first LP, but it's just as much a touchstone of post-punk.

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