Joy Electric

The Otherly Opus

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The Otherly Opus finds Joy Electric mastermind Ronnie Martin shoving aside the tinker-toy synth effects that characterized his early work and diving altogether into the neon-lit Moog whorls and ponderous basslines of mid-'80s synth pop. This is the fifth and final album in Martin's "Legacy Series" as well as year two of the "Moog Dynasty" (a reference, perhaps, to the fact that this is the second Joy Electric album to utilize vintage synthesizer equipment). While it's not immediately apparent why or how this album should be lumped together with its four predecessors (Moog Dynasty reference aside), it is consistent with the body of Joy Electric's work insofar as it's made up of lush, slightly cryptic, dance-ready synth pop with a devotional twist. "Colours in Dutch" and "The Ushering in of the Magical Era" are pure dance-pop, what with their Atari-like synth effects and pounding bass. And there are times when the album sounds genuinely mid-'80s, especially on "Red Will Dye These Snows of Silver" and "(The Timbre Of) The Timber Colony," thanks to the squinchy-sounding vintage synths and Martin's uncanny ability to channel the detached, pale-faced new wave frontmen of yore. The only cross to bear in The Otherly Opus is Martin's insistence on chanting words over and over as a means to build hooks into his songs. Cold, hard evidence of this can be found in tracks like "The Memory of Alpha" and "The Otherly Opus," both of which might send even the most hardened house music fans reeling.

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