(Looper) may use a lot of electronics but they're actually in the strangely zealous tradition of lo-fi DIY indie...
Hence David's accented vocals sound like they've been phoned in, crackling like an SOS message, most affectingly on 'On The Flipside', "I'm on the flipside of the sun/It's a place for having fun/I'm frozen by a nameless fear...". With its hankering wah-wah riff and shooting-star synths, it's the highlight of 'The Geometrid', plaintive and barely hanging in there.
'Modem Song', built around the sound of a modem, is touching, too, using electronics to stress the vulnerable, distant relationships between people: here, a friend in Tokyo. 'My Robot', meanwhile, is a funny-sweet tale of David's efforts to programme a robot to write his songs.
Unfortunately [a]Looper[/a] digress from this unique take on the man-machine shtick. 'Mondo '77' and 'Tomorrow's World' are mini-musical essays on the well-worn theme of retro-futurism. 'Bug Rain' recalls a [I]Magnolia[/I]-style scenario when they were driving along on their last American tour only to find the road covered with frogs. Coo. There are moments when [a]Looper[/a] are annoyingly wee. 'PuddleMonkey' is a mercifully brief thrash mess, a tribute song to Karn's fictional band of the same name. Karn has a fictional band. Let's all throw up. When they're fragile, Looper are precious, when they're whimsical they're plain weedy.
[a]Looper[/a] are least effective when they try to inject some anthemic joy into proceedings, as on 'Uncle Ray' or 'Money Hair', intended as a passionate finale but whose flaccid sub-Stax brass falls utterly flat. The anti-passionate 'These Things' is more like it, conceived onstage when the batteries to their sampler went flat. That's [a]Looper[/a] at their best strength through weakness.
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