Album: Groove Armada, Black Light (Ministry of Pies/Cooking Vinyl)
Explaining the essential difference between Black Light and 2007's Soundboy Rock, Groove Armada's Andy Cato cites the likes of Friendly Fires, Klaxons and MGMT as having given them a fresh challenge which sent them back to the influences of Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and Roxy.
What this means is plenty of bleak, Berlin-era Bowie & Eno-style synth washes, a track called "Warsaw", and a guest vocal from Brian Ferry, oozing oleaginously over the hypnotic throb of "Shameless". But it's the Will Young collaboration "History" which better indicates this album's provenance, in the way it recalls Bronski Beat's "Small Town Boy": yet more irony-free exercises in retro-electropop with a Goth veneer, ranging from the spartan electro-indie of the New Order-flavoured "I Won't Kneel" and the stomping synth-pop of "Paper Romance", to the darker Death In Vegas-style electro-industrial ambiences of "Not Forgotten" and "Warsaw". This latter pair are two of several tracks fronted by Empire Of The Sun's Nick Littlemore, whose overwrought delivery suggests he's spooked by the replacement of his usual glam opulence with lumpy electro-boogie. "I got an inkling that I got an avalanche falling inside of me," he suspects in "Warsaw", but the period sense of alienation is probably better evoked in "Fall Silent".
Download this I Won't Kneel; Paper Romance; Fall Silent