Dappled Cities – Zounds

January 01, 1970





An ominous digital soundscape topped by ethereal vocals that
sound like a broken heart drifting in space, “Hold Your Back” sets the tone for
an album that never arrives, a sort of middle ground between OK Computer, The Sophtware Slump and recent Flaming Lips. But the prevailing
mood is closer to “The Price,” a swooning synth-pop throwback from the Spandau
Ballet school of drama, fueled by weepy keyboard orchestration and a vocal that
pines so convincingly, it barely matters that it’s pining lines as cryptic as
“If eyes were bone and toes were gold, we’d have somebody new.” The line that
really reaches out and grabs you, though, is more straightforward, lamenting
“the price we pay to look the other way when I’m right here beside you.”


Most highlights are cut from a similar cloth, from the
Roxy-esque crooning of “Slow For Me, My Island” to “Miniature Atlas,” which
could have dominated MTV in 1984 with the right amount of sunlight hitting the
vertical blinds. It’s kind of weird, then, that they sign off with the truly
out-of-character Spaghetti Western detour of “Stepshadows.”


Standout Tracks: “Hold Your Back,” “The Price.” A. WATT


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