The Ramona Flowers: Part Time Spies

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This album is an odd mix of cool electronic dance and 80s synth pop: one minute it sounds like a tune from Rob da Bank on the radio (or think Delphic), the next a Duran Duran B side.

Opener Dirty World is not bad, despite having an intro that melds Kim Wilde’s Kids in America with a forgotten 80s hit (Wang Chung? Go West? A Flock Of Seagulls?).

Its chorus is catchy but emerges from nowhere, ie the verses are less melodic. It does that thing in the middle where the song disappears apart from a kick drum and synths and then comes bounding back. It’s a stunt they pull several times.

Skies Turn Gold is better and sounds more modern and sparse — it’s almost a Junior Boys song writ complex. The verses lead up nicely to a catchy chorus and it’s tightly played. Start To Rust is again a bit like minimalists Junior Boys at first but builds to a gentle pop tune.

The title track is competent more than anything though the instrumental Midnight Express has a nice 80s synth melody and builds nicely. Run Like Lola is an uplifting tune and would close side one of an LP quite nicely.

Side two doesn’t fade but it’s more of the same. Hurricane is formulaic but has a decent chorus and sounds urgent in places even if it’s not going anywhere. Mr Weirdo is gentle, with falsetto vocals, Sharks is one of the album’s better tracks, going from slow and gentle to a crescendo.

Despite its charms, it moves you less than you might think it should; limp is too harsh a word but it doesn’t really go anywhere. Promising, but not quite there.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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