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Fischerspooner - Sir (Album Review)

Monday, 19 February 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Rinalto Sata

As one of the key progenitors of electroclash, New York’s Fischerspooner have always embodied a particular form of smashy, digital camp. While the songwriting on their fourth album, 'Sir' lacks hooks, it is a record of intense, virile creativity that develops their sound a full nine years after the release of their previous album, ‘Entertainment’.

There are some very fine turns here. Togetherness, which features former Chairlift singer Caroline Polachek, is a strange, reggae-infused tingler, rich in vocal sequencing and blippy fantasia. Like much of ‘Sir’, it evades easy compositional categorisation.

With production duties being handled by REM’s Michael Stipe, the songs remain intensely esoteric and left-field. In many ways, that may be down to the distinctiveness of Warren Fischer’s synth arrangements: they free up the songwriting to be as idiosyncratic as the duo wants.

Another good example arrives with Everything is Just Alright - a sinister banger built around a menacing bass riff that must go straight through you when played live.

One can almost taste the smoke machines as the track builds to its climax: “Everything-ging-ging is just alright.” The use of this motif hammers home the unaffected nature of the lyricism. It’s a bit silly and effete, but it’s completely its own thing.

For all its uniqueness, though, ‘Sir’ does not quite amaze. Fischerspooner are a band and an idea that is highly attractive, and they deserve their place in the organogram of EDM. But the songs don’t quite have the pizazz of the artistic concept. 'Sir' is a bit of a legacy release: like recent offerings by Depeche Mode and Erasure, it caters for its audience with great integrity and craft, but it no longer has the edge upon which it originally traded.

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