The techno-pop sound has a full capacity for expression and emotion, but Freezepop don’t do as much for the genre as I might have hoped. It’s all very conceptual, like the ideas you’d dream up after a night of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark: Three misfits start a synth band and embrace the alleged limitations of the genre by purposefully restricting themselves to one sequencer and a proscribed number of sounds. “Emotions And Photons,” for example, unites an appealing, descending keyboard hook with a rhythm pattern right off one of those cheapjack Casios.
They’re part of the retro new wave movement, one that also includes Freezepop member “the other” Sean T. Drinkwater’s other band, Lifestyle, as well as Ladytron and some bands that don’t even begin with L. The problem is that chief composer the Duke of Pannekoeken (I told you it was conceptual) and vocalist/co-songwriter Liz Enthusiasm (I told you it was conceptual) are not exactly Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys of the aforementioned OMD. Or even Drinkwater when he’s writing for Lifestyle. And Enthusiasm’s depressed, cool and precise vocals (that’s irony, innnit?) are deadpan as opposed to Dead Or Alive.
That said, standout tracks include “Chess King,” with its fun lyric (“You’ll wear anything”), and the peaceful “Outer Space.” And then there’s the very, very special present, in the form of an unlisted bonus track, which sums up the complications of my response to this album in two questions:
1. How can you not like a band that covers the “Jem” theme song? As in “Jem is truly outrageous.”
2. But how much can you like an album on which that song has the best melody??
Archenemy Records: www.archenemy.com