Despite the charms of its debut album Play Music (2008), there was no getting around the fact that Europe-based trio Thieves Like Us is a group pretty much predicated on the notion that it quite openly loves New Order so much you guys. Thieves Like Us don’t bother shaking off their retro inclinations on their second album (this is a group that credits OMD for inspiring a specific song in the liner notes, after all). However, they at least veer beyond their post-punk electronica inspirations to incorporate elements of ‘80s lite funk, not to mention make the occasional concession to more modern dance music styles. Constructed out of thin, airy synths that mesh with the lovelorn lyrics to create a sensation of subdued emotional restlessness, Again and Again is at times hindered by the sonic limits of its vintage-based instrumental palette, and lacks the instinctive “one should really know better” appeal of the preceding full-length release. Nonetheless, Thieves Like Us occasionally turn out stand-out cuts like “Shyness” and “The Walk” that are fetching enough to endear this album to the same retro-hipster club fiends that embraced their first record.
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