The Spell

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Ivan's debut solo disc is somewhat of a disappointing affair. Leaving the "metal" guitar sounds of Men Without Hats' last disc (1991's Sideways), Ivan returns to his "synth-pop" roots and puts together an electronic dance album. One of the charms of Men Without Hats was that they produced some of the most melodic dance songs that were accompanied by above-average lyrics. This is not the case with this album. Ivan seems to put more emphasis on the beats per minute and sound affects as opposed to the song itself. Some of the songs found on this collection would have never even been considered for a Men Without Hats B-side and are just plain embarrassing (there is just no excuse for "Superbadgirls") or derivative ("Chain Reaction" sounds like a boring Pet Shop Boys song). There are highlights, including the opening track "The Spell," which show that Ivan can still write an incredible tune and pretty good lyrics. "Open Your Eyes" is another good track, which has a good pop melody with a good dance beat. But the highlights are too few. It is not even a very good dance album. Ivan is not in touch with 1990s dance sounds and the attempts to be contemporary sound forced and uninteresting. Ivan produced some incredible material with Men Without Hats but his brilliance does not show on this release. For collectors or completists only. As a point of interest, Ivan is wearing a hat on the front sleeve.

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