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We are Eyes, We are Builders
Plastiq Musiq

After an era of silent hedonism and Levi's, grown men in shorts, we have sluggishly entered a new age. Or is it an old age repackaged before our eyes? Has Walt Disney come back to life? Gary Numan and Blade Runner were once versions of the robotic future. Now they are nostalgic and tacit views of what our present age would be like, as they once imagine. But now Numan would like to be Nine Inch Nails and Blade Runner is just a cool looking movie. Then here comes Soviet into the mix. I am not sure where they are from or who they are. I can look at the cover of their CD and I think of Kraftwerk videos. Maybe it's just a ski lift in Switzerland. I hear the synthesizers and remember that new romantics were all about surface and the death of Eros. Will we ever inhabit the man/machine?

Soviet has been described as "Dressed in red shirts with white ties and matching belts, they resembled a mixture of Flock Of Seagulls and the Thompson Twins. With only a mixer and two keyboards, they entertained a growing crowd with 40 minutes of beautiful, catchy electronic tunes." Sounds more like Kraftwerk or OMD. Why they have British accents is beyond me. Whereas similar bands like Adult. and Ladytron seem to spend a lot of time on crafting beats, Soviet sound like they use a little Casio with only the most rudimentary beats. What today's bands now forget that most bands of the early 1980s had excellent live drummers. And even once futurists like Steve Strange who has starred in the "Ashes to Ashes" video, now lives with his mom and collects welfare.

It seems as if Soviet have been received well as a live band. But hearing someone else's opinion about whether a band can deliver on-stage is much like hearing that Jennifer Lopez is good in bed. The songs have pop quality, but the almost melancholy voice recalls the unemotional world of Alphaville. "Commute", "Marbleyezed", and "Lonely Days" are the best songs here which deal with empty spaces, cold love, and alienation. This is a palette which David Bowie and John Foxx have explored almost 25 years ago. I guess reading J. G. Ballard was as popular then as it is now? I guess all music is there to be discovered in the virgin woods. One shouldn't have to be bogged down by history or who did what? I want to be a machine, damnit!

"We Are Eyes, We Are Builders" is eventually an important record. Soviet is a leading contender for one of the year's best new synth-pop bands. They show great promise and could be as interesting on record as Adult. and Ladytron. They are already allegedly a good live act. They have our attention. What they need are stronger beats and tunes with a better sense of purpose. They could deliver the future if they tried. Soviet has our attention. The style gurus may move on to the next thing. Nirvana is dying to make a comeback.

--- Alexander Laurence

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