Four young women breathe new life into a tired-as-Hell genre, with fabulous results.
The Anatomy EP contains four songs and two remixes of synth-heavy, beat-dominated new wave revival. These days, you can't spit without hitting a band that falls into that category. The wonderful thing is, in these six tracks, Vanity Theft transcend genre trappings and showcase excellent songwriting abilities, while many other bands think style over substance is acceptable, and that stealing the sounds of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark or the Pet Shop Boys make them exempt from thinking about melodies, hooks, or innovation.
So, let's applaud Alicia, Brittany, Elyse, and Lalaine. "Anatomy" recalls the darker synth-pop of Depeche Mode and New Order in a refreshingly modern, not at all plagiaristic fashion, with spot-on vocals and a chorus that kills. Its "Houses Haunted Tape" remix transforms it into something like a Fever Ray/M.I.A. collaboration. "Limb From Limb" is akin to what the Yeah Yeah Yeahs did on It's Blitz!, without the stigma of being completely overrated. "Missing Teeth" is just heavenly electro-pop, that, although repetitive, is saved by sublime vocal melodies and production. The "Houses Peeling Wallpaper" remix of said song is actually even better; a perfect 10, adding more reverb, shoegaze, Beach Boys-style vocal backups, and a rhythm heavy on bass and handclaps. "Excavation" ends the EP on a surprising emo/indie note, dominated by synths, and not unlike the early work of The Anniversary.
With two full-lengths behind Vanity Theft, The Anatomy EP is a gloriously satisfying excursion, that should hold fans over until the next album drops in February 2011. I am so totally there.