CD Review of Entertainment by Fischerspooner
Fischerspooner: Entertainment
Recommended if you like
Erasure, Hercules and Love Affair, Miss Kitten
Label
FS Studios
Fischerspooner: Entertainment

Reviewed by James B. Eldred

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F
ischerspooner started out as an electroclash act, which is a shame, since it was decided by someone that electroclash is no longer cool or hip. All of the genre’s big acts have either sunk into near-obscurity since they refuse to change their style to accommodate the backlash (Miss Kitten, Felix Da Housecat) or they've updated/reworked their sound enough to survive in a post-electroclash-loving world (Ladytron, Peaches).

That's too bad for Fischerspooner, because electroclash is all they really do well. Their debut album #1 was one of the best examples of the genre, taking it to glamtastic, overly dramatic extremes that somehow combined the best of ‘70s Bowie with Human League and Yaz-style electronics to produce remarkable, if somewhat uneven, results. The band's sophomore album, Odyssey, took one step away from electroclash, instead embracing a more band-oriented synthpop sound that might have been more respectable at the time, but was definitely more boring and mundane. Now they’re back once again with Entertainment, and instead of trying to return to their electroclash roots, they’ve stepped further away from them, delivering an electropop record that is devoid of almost all of the grandeur, pomp and bombastic energy that made the highlights of their first two albums so much fun, instead embracing a pure dance-pop sound that might sound good on a dance floor, but leads to an ultimately empty and bland listening experience.

It's obvious that Fischerspooner are trying to channel the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure on Entertainment, but it doesn't seem like they spent enough time studying those electropop pioneers. There's no emotion here; Spooner's vocals are dead with no range or feeling save for a few brief flashes. It's like he doesn't even care about the words coming out of his mouth. The music is dry and barren as well. Songs like "Door Train Home" just drag on and on, almost like trance music, with no crescendos, climaxes or anything else that might make you get up off your butt and dance. "Supply and Demand" has the same problem, pasting a disco beat behind some barren synth riffs and Spooner's empty vocals. Even more embarrassing is the horrid "Danse En France," which begins with an annoying vocal of a woman describing a bad date before devolving into a series of ear-splittingly awful beats that repeat ad nauseam for five minutes. Utter trash.

Fischerspooner are at their best on Entertainment when they discard their pop sensibilities and just let go. "Money Can't Dance" is a six-and-a-half minute epic, starting with a synth solo and building slowly into a climax that works both on and off the dance floor. Spooner's usually annoying voice even works well here, as it matches the snotty and snide lyrics. The same goes for "Infidels of the World Unite," which is the only song where the duo comes close to successfully emulating the sound of classic Pet Shop Boys with lush and beautiful arrangements and biting lyrics.

That's it, though; the rest of Entertainment is thoroughly unentertaining, a forgettable collection of poppy dance that has nothing of interest aside from the cover.

Seriously, what is up with that?

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