Album Review: Xeno & Oaklander – ‘Sets & Lights’

Hypnotic shared vocals and delicious melodies

Bands drawing on ’80s synth-pop have hardly been scarce these last few years, but the latest missive from New Yorkers [a]Xeno & Oaklander[/a] is not the work of dilettantes. Liz Wendelbo and Sean McBride have the Human League/Thomas Dolby textures down to a tee but, crucially, they haven’t skimped on the songwriting, and ‘Blue’ and ‘Autumn’s Edge’, with their hypnotic shared vocals, revolve around delicious melodies. The industrial edges of 2009’s ‘Sentinelle’ have been smoothed out in favour of a Giorgio Moroder pulse, while the Italo-tinged ‘Italy’ arrives just in time to be a balmy late-summer hit, if a rather unimaginatively titled one.

Frances Morgan