Strange Behaviour

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The sophomore effort from L.A. new wavers Animotion locates the exact midpoint between trendy synth pop and AOR crunch. Slickly produced by the well-traveled Richie Zito, the ten songs alternate bright keyboard stabs with guitarist Don Kirkpatrick's power chords, and every track has a hook that sounds market-tested -- making Strange Behavior play like the soundtrack to some mid-'80s action flick. That wouldn't be such a bad thing, since a few songs have real staying power -- in particular, song doctor Holly Knight's "I Engineer," with its chanted chorus and take-charge message. But, unfortunately, none of the tracks possess the same sleazy charm that made Animotion's 1985 single "Obsession" a pop and dance chart-topper. Hearing vocalists Bill Wadhams and Astrid Plane tossing bad pickup lines at each other on that song was a big part of its appeal, but here the pair is mostly disconnected, alternating leads and only playing off one another on "Out of Control," with much less impressive results. A little warmth -- or just carnal heat -- from the two would have gone a long way on this album, which is ultimately too cool and polished for its own good.

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