I like this record, a lot, and I don’t know why. Reviewers aren’t supposed to admit that, but whatever, it’s true. Let’s give it a shot.
I’m guessing my liking for The Technology: has something to do with the great ’80s-style New Wave guitar/synth dance groove that most of these songs fall into. This was my time in the sun, and I get a whole range of ’80s technopop references here: Gary Numan on “Motion in Progress,” kind of a Tubes thing on “Play to the Exits,” and a Moog hook on “The Informant vs. the World” that is about halfway between the ones on Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” and a-ha’s “Take On Me.” So maybe that’s it.
Or maybe it’s the singer’s voice. I don’t know which of the five Dallas dudes that define [daryl] do the duties, and there seems to be no way to discern that information, but I know that whoever he is he’s been making good use of his Jane’s Addiction and Guided By Voices records. He’s out there, emotionally, in a way that most groups outside emo just don’t get to.
And I guess this would be emo, kinda, if any of these songs were about boys and girls. Instead, they’re about… damn, I don’t know what they’re about. The lyrics are right there, and I had enough poetry classes in college, so I should be able to figure [daryl]’s trip out — but I can’t. I think this may be some kind of concept album about the ways that technology keeps us apart and brings us together or something. But that wouldn’t explain great inscrutable nuggets like “I’m a radio/You’re the Cartwright” (I’m just not nerdy enough to get that) or “Japanese girls will always turn me on.” I mean, hey, me too, but it still makes no sense in or out of context.
But even though I’m a firm believer in lyrics, and in avoiding albums where every other track is a semi-ambient two-minute piano instrumental that sounds like something I could have done in high school, the actual songs here are stirring enough in their incomprehensible glory for me to justify recommending The Technology: very highly. I guess what it’s all about is energy and passion and kick, and [daryl]’s got a whole lot of those important qualities.