Burnside Project The Finest Example is You

[Bar/None; 2006]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: electro, bedroom-dance, synth pop
Others: Russian Futurists, The Magnetic Fields, Schneider TM, The Postal Service

Has the time for cute synth-pop passed? Only time and the next Postal Service album will tell, but the lack of imitators of the Earnest Lads Two would seem to indicate that the tastes of the masses are moving into more organic territory. It's the chunky guitars of the British dance-punk spawn and their cousins over here that've captivated crowds; I don't hear much clamor for another Faint album anytime soon, or even, come to think of it, another Give Up.

But maybe I'm not listening to the right channels, because the Burnside Project are a come-lately indie electro-pop if ever there was one. When they cop a New Order breakdown in "Get Better Soon," it's pretty clear whose territory they're after. Are they successful? Sure. Earnest, everyboy vocals, generally mundane, discomfited lyrics. You get the picture. Not as quirky as The Magnetic Fields, but not quite as stupid as... well, as it could be. The beat programming is agonizingly simple, however, and the surrounding instrumentation isn't much more sophisticated. These guys are approaching the pastoral melancholy of The Notwist and the shimmery wash of Schneider TM, but the texture they achieve is always a bit too elementary. Did anyone ever criticize Ben Gibbard for being too opaque? Burnside Project seem to respond to this unheard complaint, and maybe if I don't care for their answer, it's because I never asked the question.

1. Signs of Perfection
2. And So it Goes
3. Get Better Soon
4. Our Surprise Decision
5. Just Drop Off
6. Another Way
7. An Easy Sell
8. One to One
9. Cynical Weathers
10. Start Again
11. What's Said Was Spoken