Remember Electroclash? Possibly not. It was meant to be The Next Big Thing a few summers ago but instead never really stretched beyond the style magazines and the Hoxton clubs frequented by Nathan Barley types.
New York performance art duo Fischerspooner swiftly became the frontrunners of the movement when their 2002 single Emerge was played everywhere. But Fischerspooner’s emergence was rapidly followed by their disappearance. Until now. Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner are back with a new album, Odyssey. But should we care?
The album opens with new single Just Let Go, which like the rest of the album shows that Fischerspooner haven’t departed from their eighties synth sound. If anything Odyssey is a little darker than their previous material. Just Let Go begins with a punchy beat that continues throughout the track but the song never really takes off despite a vaguely catchy chorus. It’s the sort of track that could lend itself well to remixes but is not a strong choice for first single. A better option could have been second track Cloud, which has a stronger melody and more depth provided by a second female vocalist.
Third song, Never Win, begins by sounding like Pink Floyd‘s Another Brick In The Wall and then oddly transforms into a classic British indie vocal performance, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s definitely one of the more interesting tracks on Odyssey. This is followed by the slightly ethereal A Kick In The Teeth, which as the title suggests is about being miserable with lyrics like: “I’m looking for a pill, something to ease my will, a kick in the teeth”. It has dream-like vocals, which start off slowly and then speed up to create a sound that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Donna Summer album.
Like all musicians, particularly US ones, it is almost obligatory to have a stance on the War on Iraq and We Need A War is Fischerspooner’s contribution. But with lines like: “We need a war, we need a war to show ‘em, we need a war to show ‘em that we can, we need a war to show ‘em that we can do it whenever we say we need a war”. This is unlikely to get George Bush quaking in his boots. It gets the point across and credit to them for trying but their effort seems fairly glib.
We Need A War marks the halfway point of the album and to be brutally honest there’s not much beyond this that is worth listening to. The final track, Circle (Vision Creation New Sun) is an electronica epic at more than six minutes. It is loop crazy and a whirlwind of interesting noises but doesn’t offer much in the way of listening pleasure.
In a way the final song sums up the Fischerspooner album experience. They are a duo who have a lot to offer in terms of creativity but Odyssey distinctly lacks strong tunes you would want to desperately download on the iPod. After a while their moody brand of eighties synth music becomes repetitive.
Fischerspooner are clearly esteemed for their live performance shows but perhaps their music fails to stand alone without the visual trickery and resplendent costumes. As a result Odyssey is unlikely to re-ignite the electroclash movement and even less likely to resurrect any interest in Fischerspooner.