Sol!d Pop

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It's always nice when a band immediately delivers on its promises, and the album title says it all, really -- this is very solid pop, derived from a merry never-neverland set somewhere on the cusp of the 1980s. Jeff and Jess DeCuir's pop-friendly impulses from the early-'70s celebratory Pink Filth translate excellently into Hyperbubble -- if the coordinates are a decade forward in time, their abilities to work it well are beyond question. There's plenty of humor throughout -- "Mom Dad Un!t," which kicks everything off, plays around with the 'I am a robot' trope to envisage a happy domestic situation among machines in orbit -- to go with the crisp, lovely and low-key arrangements. If there's not quite as much of the immediate 'take it to the dancefloor' impulse found in first album. Like Depeche Mode, say, Hyperbubble exists as the cleaner sounding contrast to Ladytron's revivalism -- less grimy and cold, more perky and upbeat. Not that there aren't exceptions to this -- "Psych!c Connect!on," a solid revamp of the glam swing of Chicory Tip's "Son of My Father," has a wonderful, glowering lead synth line, offset by the rest of the arrangement. Then again there's the merrily ridiculous "Pep Rally Blues," which feeds snippets and bits from what sounds like, indeed, said typical high-school event, into a giddy collage. Jeff's singing is almost always filtered through vocoders to lend that extra amount of alienated groove, so hearing him singing straight-up on songs like "Vend!ng Mach!ne" is always an unexpected treat. Jess, meanwhile, has a perfect voice for the material, wistful and fun at the same time, able to make songs like "Leon" -- specifically about a pet cat, who contributes guest vocals in a way -- a gentle treat, and "B!on!c Girl" a completely hilarious one.

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