Reviewed by John Hebden
Ronnie and Jason Martin have recorded 20 albums between them with their own individual identities - Joy Electric (Ronnie's synth retro pop persona) and Starflyer 59 (Jason's indie guitar pop group). This is their first full length album together since they split their original electronic/dance outfit, Dance House Children, in the early 1990s. It comes across like a tribute to the sounds of the 1980s, with OMD keyboard sounds (all over the place), New Order beats ("The Harsh Effects Of Time"), the shuffle of China Crisis ("Fears To Remember") and latter day Depeche Mode guitars for the heavier songs ("Communication" and "The Missionary"). At times it feels like Ronnie's keyboards are fighting for supremacy over Jason's guitars. Strangely, however, there are similarities in the brothers' writing. They both use words economically, which makes for interesting reading. Time and regret are both significant themes on this album, although sometimes the writing slips over into the obscure. With regard to music, both Ronnie and Jason write strong, quirky hook lines, which lift the songs out of some of the lyrical darkness. However, both rely a lot on repetition to fill out the total of just 35 minutes for the whole album.
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