Inconsistently weaving between kitschy electro-lounge and not-so-minimal house, Frivolous’ new disc for Pole’s ~Scape label seems as unsure of what it’s trying to accomplish as we are of what to do with it. The opening pair of dancefloor tracks are skillful enough, if unexciting, but vocals detract in both cases especially the second’s quickly tiresome seven-minute “why aren’t you dancing” monologue. This culminates in the cloying pop-jazz of “Long Way” which, faintly catchy in spite of itself, would still be an excellent choice for background music in a terrible-jazz-club movie scene. Oddly, it’s the short transition tracks that show the most promise, namely the disconcerting wobbling advertising jingle of “Post-Depression” and the sample-infused space opera of “Abandoned Earth”. Late in the album, “Goodbye Regrets” manages to slide along as a solid exercise in oozing ambient techno, fleshed out with well-handled samples and synths, but the effect is wrecked shortly after by the insipid “You Gotta Sing”, which is little more than an updated “When You’re Happy and You Know It”.
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// Notes from the Road
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