||"Just Let Go"
||"O (Vision Creation Newsun)"
About the time the world was entering its new millennium, Warren
Fischer and Casey Spooner's convergence of experimental theater,
pop culture and music took the city by storm. Featuring a troupe
of dancers, elaborate costumes and, of course, Spooner's obvious
lip-syncing over the duo's pre-recorded music, their stylish performances
quickly became the stuff of legend. Fischerspooner's single "Emerge"
made electroclash a household name in nightclubs all around the
world, and soon to come were gigantic recording contracts with
Ministry of Sound followed by Capitol. Between 2000 and 2003,
their debut album, #1, would be released and re-released
on almost a half-a-dozen labels, but the bar was raised too high.
Their club success didn't transfer quite as well to the general
record buying public.
For their second album, Fischerspooner haven't totally reinvented
themselves but Odyssey definitely marks an evolution. Citing
'70s rock and psychedelic influences, the group's press sheet
might lead you to believe that they were looking to reinterpret
Pink Floyd's The Wall. That's not the case; they're sticking
to their synth-pop guns only here they've expanded their instrumentation
and musical palette with songs that may finally supercede their
live spectacle. The duo utilized an impressive team of collaborators
including pop's top hit song-maker Linda Perry, and producers
Tony Hoffer (Air, Beck) and Mirwais. David Byrne contributes lyrics
to "Get Confused" and there's also an unlikely pairing
with recently deceased author and activist Susan Sontag, who supplied
the words for one of the album's high points, the poignant but
catchy "We Need a War."
Fischerspooner's new songs have more of a bite. A scrappy guitar
buzzes right alongside the analog synths in album opener "Just
Let Go" while a live drummer drives tracks like "Everything
to Gain" and "A Kick in the Teeth." During "All
We Are," you can pick out the '70s inspiration from Spooner's
breathy melodies; in fact he's never sounded better. None of the
tracks aim for the jugular like "Emerge" did, but as
a whole Odyssey goes deeper than #1's icy surface
and has more in common with releases by versatile electronic pop
icons like the Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode. But what caught
us all by surprise is the album's leftfield ending. Fischerspooner
leave us with an unexpected highlight, a cover of the Boredoms'
epic "O." Cut in half to a mere six-minutes-and-thirty-five
seconds, Spooner shrieks and chants "vision, creation, newsun"
over a cacophony of cosmic, Krautrockin' sounds and video arcade
noises. Do I dare say electro-psych? [GH]