Cetu Javu

Southern Lands

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Cetu Javu have been pursuing the spirits of synth pop with the black-clad myopic zealousness of orthodox goths throughout the entire 1990s. But their personal quest to capture all the angular repression and detached sexuality of postwar Europe so they can use them to paint huge vacant-eyed murals of Depeche Mode and Alphaville is somewhat remarkable, considering that the rest of the world was busy with acid house, jungle, grunge, Brit-pop, and trance. The Camouflage-ish "Fight Without a Reason," which almost chokes on its own record collection, and the possessed "Situations" or "Have in Mind" -- certainly one of the finest synth lamentations since Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" -- expose a band in full, utilitarian grasp of the best bits of Soft Cell and latter-day Talk Talk, while never once ripping them off. Difficult to judge within its own boundaries perhaps, but one of the most alluring and elusive synth pop albums in a decade.

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