Far Rad

This Candy's Gross

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Chicago electronic duo Far Rad seem to be trying for a retro-futuristic sound in the style of Daniel Miller's late-'70s recordings as the Normal and the Silicon Teens. In terms of the vintage synth sounds, they've got it down cold: the whirring/droning/beeping keyboard sounds on This Candy's Gross will give old-school synth pop fans fond memories of their old Mute Records singles. When the focus is on the keyboards, all is right with the album; "Picture Picture," for example, has the lo-fi prettiness of some of Thomas Leer's pioneering abstract-synth explorations. Unfortunately, Far Rad are not an instrumental band. Mike Perkins (whose work with the underrated Sig Transit Gloria suggests that he certainly should know better) chooses to sing the entire album in a profoundly irritating yelping imitation of Pere Ubu's David Thomas, with nothing of Thomas' subtlety or humor, and the lyrics are similarly obtuse. There is half of a very good album on This Candy's Gross, if one can tune out the other half sufficiently to enjoy it.

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