When the Secret Handshake (Luis Dubuc) released his Summer of ‘98 EP at the beginning of the year, he was hopping a ride on the electro-emo bandwagon that was being spearheaded by HelloGoodbye (and, to a lesser extent, Blaqk Audio). With his voice T-Pained to infinity and back, Luis was able to craft thrilling, propulsive songs like “Summer of ‘98” and the remarkable ballad “Don’t Call”. Yet for One Full Year, his full-length debut, Dubuc feels surprisingly limited with his music. “Make You Mine” feels like the whitest Pharrell impression ever recorded (which, in this case, is not a good thing), and “Costal Cities” relies on its self-imposed sense of melodrama just a bit too much. It’s something of a shame that Dubuc repeats so many ideas, as there are still some sparks left in his system: “Wanted You” is heartbreak set to a dancebeat, and the wild, fiery-guitar work on album highlight “Gamegirl” might be one of the 2007’s most thrilling electro-pop moments. Unfortunately, these songs alone do not a solid album make. Dubuc faces a big creative hurdle in plotting his next move, but if he plays his finely-tuned sensibilities just right, then we just might have an electronic revival on our hands. Your move, Luis.
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// Notes from the Road
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