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Fischerspooner
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    Fischerspooner

    Fischerspooner #1 8 ( 2002 )
    Invisible / The 15th / Emerge / Tone Poem / Horizon / Turn On / #!@;c / Natural Disaster / Ersatz

    The manner in which the New Musical Express writes and portrays Fischerspooner is that they're some kind of giant, shambolic, decadent pantomime. Granted, by all accounts that's exactly what their stage shows represent! So many extravagent costumes and dancers that even Elton John in all his pomp and glory would find them embarrasingly tacky. The fact is though, Fischerspooner have made the finest album of a particular synth-pop kind since 1983 or something. And no, this isn't some sad excersize in nostalgia. With the synths comes a knowledge and experience of all modern dance and techno. That this group have rejected 90% of that knowledge just shows impeccable taste. Originality can be said to be the process of creating something out of many old things but in new interesting combinations. So, Fisherspooner mix The Human League or Depeche Mode ( insert name of eighties synth pop act here... ) with uncommercial, underground techno. They also owe Punk & New Wave forms a debt. Indeed, for this very first ( and possibly last, who knows? ) Fischerspooner album, they do a marvellous version of a Wire song. They also create their own certified ( or certifiable? ) classic with the storming 'punk' on machines that is 'Emerge'. So, Fischerspooner. Ignore them, but they're here. Jokes, costumes, wigs and all.

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    Odyssey( 2005 )
    Just Let Go / Cloud / Never Win / A Kick In The Teeth / Everything To Gain / We Need A War / Wednesday / Happy / Ritz 107 / All We Are / Circle

    As the review right above this sentence shows, I wasn't sure if we'd hear from these guys again. I wrote that review three years ago, but happily, i'm here now writing about these guys sophomore set. It's absolutely excellent, too. So much so, pop fans, rock fans, anyone i've played it too - all have been mightily impressed by at least a few songs. We've got a pop album here, pure and simple. The sound of New Wave synth is retained, but the production has modern touches all over. A true updating of the early 80s sound, rather than just a nostalgia excersize. One thing this album has in common with the groups debut is a strong beginning. Each of the first three songs really are excellent tunes. The opening 'Just Let Go' is a friend of 'Emerge' from the groups debut, not quite as splendidly frantic, but very nearly as enjoyable. Second song 'Cloud' is fast emerging as my favourite Fischerspooner moment, as close to pop perfection as they've come. The song has a distinctive introduction, serviceable lyrics and a very good structure. Everything in the right place, it's hard to imagine how the song could be improved, which is always a good sign. The song is fairly trippy, as well. That's a good thing. We switch to a bit of electro-funk for third song, 'Never Win', another pop-tune with bags of melody and another great song-arrangement. The electronic squeeks and squelches are never gratuitous, always there to enhance and serve the song.

    The album progresses well, even beyond this stellar beginning. A slower tune to follow the first three, any of which would make a good single. A weaker moment with 'Everything To Gain', not enough of interest happens in this semi-tune that doesn't grab you either instrumentally or vocally. 'We Need A War' wraps up the first half of the album well, another song that would make a good potential single - another strong chorus. The album continues in much the same vein, uptempo for 'Happy', a nice slower electronic number with 'Ritz 107' winding through to the six and a half minute 'Circle' to close, which turns up the trippy element of the album, a largely instrumental tune, with various sections you can boogie on down to. So, a strong follow-up? Well, yes. It probably won't sell, but Fischerspooner should take comfort from the fact they are creating very good music that people who are finding their way to, will certainly enjoy a great deal.

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    Entertainment 7 ( 2009 )
    The Best Revenge / We Are Electric / Money Can't Dance / In A Modern World / Supply & Demand / Amuse Bouche / Infidels Of The World Unite / Door Train Home / Danse En France / To The Moon

    Fischerspooner have consistently been at the mercy of their initial write ups back in the late nineties/early noughties with tales of pretentious experiements with 'art-theatre', 20 performers and a nod back to the eighties with the synth electroclash genre. Course, now everyone is basically doing electroclash - only that discredited genre name isn't even referred to anymore. Well, the NME and their Strokes festishness wiped out the memories of anybody that was trying anything at all different back in the early part of the decade. Fischerspooner's 2nd album reached the giddy heights of billboard album chart position number 174 back in 2005. In short, this band have been forgotten about, ignored, ridiculed and it's a wonder they're still going, really.

    Me? I've always quite liked them, they've always stood apart from whatever commercial scene has been going on whilst at the same time, producing commercial music more suitable to their own tastes. Well, 'The Best Revenge' and 'We Are Electric' are very Fischerspooner, eighties influences mixed with electric guitars and modern programming. Perhaps that's why they've failed, they're not dance enough to be dance, they're certainly not rock, they lack the gloom/rock god factor of a Depeche Mode. They don't fit, but not fitting shouldn't detract from the quality of the music, which for the third LP in a row, is generally good.

    Third track 'Money Can't Dance' is pleasingly soft and human sounding, these analogue beeps and electronic buzzes mixed with a nice vocal and worthy lyrics. It's interesting and it's music designed to be listened to. Well, Fischerspooner were never quite as straightforward on record as external observations may have suggested, all that silliness with the costumes distracting from the music? How about the fact they take their time over their music, take it seriously and just want to put on a show - is that not allowed? Anyhow, 'Supply And Demand' was a weak choice for a first single, sounding particularly anachrostic and lacking strong hooks. I wonder if some critics bothered listening to more than this track, which was given away as an official free download. 'Infidels Of The World Unite' may or may not owe a debt to The Smiths, in any case it's less of a lyrical statement as it is a danceable slice of pop music, complete with disturbingly desperate sounding vocals.

    Sadly, this particular album runs out of steam, none of the closing trio of tracks containing any real hooks, as if Fischerspooner themselves are unsure of what works best for them. Do they listen to the critics and try and modernise their sound and turn into primarily a techno act? Do they work up the guitars more and aim for a rock audience? Who even are Fischerspooner's audience? Ignore the live gigs, the music seems completely divorced from that kind of spectacle when purely listened to on CD or vinyl. The final track for instance, 'To The Moon', is largely instrumental and quite cleverly constucted yet you are left wondering what the point of it all is.

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    this page last updated 21/02/10


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