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taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

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reviews of the moment

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Love Craft — Future Selves

Love Craft’s new full-length Future Selves is not just another of the countless new-wave transmutations of the past decade; it’s an equally infectious update of the classic, highly accessible HI-NRG sound of bands like Information Society and Dead or Alive. The quartet have fiddled with variations of this formula over a few EPs and lineups, but Future Selves finds the band thrusting themselves into a characterization of sorts. None of the gear they used was made after Information Society’s underrated 1988 self-titled album, making the sound genuine and effortless. The three-part vocals of Marty Rogers, Eric Swaim and Blake Tesh hit on the many faces of New Wave, from the offertory croak of Bernard Sumner (“White Witches”) to Gary Numan’s icy atmospherics (“All Your Friends In Love”). There are some good hooks, though it can sag lyrically at times, but the album’s focal point is and should be its strong instrumental performances. Zaps of Worrellian synth dot the ultra-funky backbeat to “This Town”, while enveloped guitars dance around heavy, droning bass on the propulsive “Sigils”. It’s an industrialized dance album of superb quality.

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80/100

Love Craft will perform at the Blind Tiger Wednesday and at Krankies Coffee on Saturday.

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Lovers — Dark Light

Is Dark Light, the fourth release by Carolyn Berk’s Portland, Ore. trio Lovers, a concept album? If it’s not meant to be, it’s a fairly underwhelming and often redundant effort by a band that finds itself on the wrong side of a thematic brick wall. Far removed from the essential singer-songwriter sound of the earlier albums, thanks to the swathing synths of Kerby Ferris, Berk’s humanist deliberations on same-sex relationships are maybe a little too self-referential. Berk invokes the band’s name as a hook too often to seem coincidental, and even when she expounds on the need for sociopolitical equity, it’s often reduced to picket sign aphorisms. Sonically, Ferris’ dark beats and Berk’s languorous vocals drive the album’s bedroom production aesthetic, which glide along with affecting, minimalist textures on “Figure 8” and “Don’t You Want It,” but even those beats are rehashed later on. Given the album’s intent, it feels less like the candlelit dinners and Sunday mornings in bed and more like an Excel spreadsheet of shared expenses.

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63/100

Lovers will perform at Legitimate Business on Tuesday, May 24.

Follow Ryan on Twitter @YESRyan

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