Hellothisisalex

The Canadian Spelling Program

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Hellothisisalex's follow-up to the 2001 full-length debut The Anachim Thorn came out as part of the Canadian label Piehead's 2002 series, 11 CD-R albums each limited to 311 copies. Melissa Creasey and Mark Prier have refined their music a little more, pushing toward melody without losing their experimental edge. The Canadian Spelling Program packs 13 cuts in 34 minutes. The pace, tongue-in-cheek attitude, and analog electronics recall Helgoland; the simplicity and childlike naïveté of some of the melodies evoke the music of Felix Kubin and Nova Huta -- in any case listeners are in European neo-analog electro-pop land, making Hellothisisalex an unusual outfit by North American standards. Yet, the music is by no means derivative; it has its own quirky, irresistible identity and achieves a nice, accessible balance between immediate retro-feel melodies and left-field arrangements. Only a couple of tracks fall into the mediocre category ("In a Heartbeat" and "Royal Perennial" in particular). Everything else is pure intelligent entertainment, the kind of bedroom-producer techno tracks you can enjoy without feeling ridiculous. You listen to this album with a smile on your face simply because these melodies make the sun appear brighter.

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