There are many reasons to hate Fischerspooner, least of which is the fact that they got their start at the Astor Place Starbucks, one of three of the franchise’s coffee shops that currently infest a two-block radius in the East Village, after which NME overzealously declared the duo the best thing to happen to music since Otto von Guericke discovered electricity in 1672. Ha! Their hit single “Emerge” was a treasure (one of the best singles of its year, in fact), but the electroclash posterboys’ debut #1 was uneven at best and their second album Odyssey presents even more reasons to hate them—and in glaring Technicolor. In an attempt to add meaning to their performance artifice, Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner have added some fuzzy rock guitars and live drumming to their usual mix of oscillating basslines, hollow lyrics, and filters galore, tossed in a song about war (the insufferably repetitive and otherwise meaningless “We Need A War,” based on lyrics by the late Susan Sontag), commissioned Mirwais (whose one-trick sound went out of style after the second time Madonna co-opted it) to co-produce three songs, and invited David Byrne and pop maven Linda Perry to help get the party started. The result wouldn’t be so dissatisfying if even one of the album’s anemic hooks came anywhere near that of “Emerge.” (Close: lead single “Just Let Go” and the meta “All We Are.”) In the album’s liner notes, art critic and historian Dave Hickey poses the rhetorical query: “Is it all just synthesizer and nail polish?” The answer is, unequivocally, yes.
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