Various Artists

Synthpop for a Darkened Room

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Synthpop for a Darkened Room collects 15 tracks of new romantic-inspired pop from relative unknowns. But name recognition isn't very important when 90 percent of the material does its best to sound like Bryan Ferry. This doesn't make the album a failure. Its strongest tracks -- Leiahdorous' "The Dissection of Man" and "I Want You" from Cosmicity -- are sophisticated flights of synth-filled fantasy with melodies as good as anything on the second half of Duran Duran's debut. But the new romantic movement was a moment in time, and a brief one at that. A foppish pirate shirt and Roxy Music's Avalon in a bargain bin will get you your synth pop fix faster than any of the material here.

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