My Electric Family CD - Drag City

On her second full-length effort, New Zealander Annabel Alpers (AKA Bachelorette) offers up another serving of electro-pop. Bachelorette's musical vision draws heavily on the sensibilities of the first generation of synth-poppers, but reworks their, by now, standard ideas through calling on the more recent dilly-dallying of the freak-folk crowd. And if that sounds off-putting, well yeah, it can be. On my first zip through My Electric Family I wasn't all that much impressed. Lyrical themes dwell, not unexpectedly, on the relationship between woman and synthesizer, vaguely framed as one of romance and separation anxiety. Yet despite my slight aversion to this genre in general, I have to say that on repeated listen I have warmed to this disc. Alpers does have a way with melody and hook that transcends the essentially rote nature of e-pop, and tracks such as the ironically emotionless "Technology Boy" (which narrates the old boy meets girl fallout) and the skewed disco-beat of "Mindwarp" play on my intermittent inclination for eighties nostalgia. Opener "Instructions for Insomniacs" and "Where to Begin," two of the best here (and not coincidentally two of the tracks less reliant on electronification) are gentle, engaging slices of modern folk-rock which would not be at all out of place on a release from Devendra Banhart's label.

By Michael Meade



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