Although their name links them with a city smack dab in the middle of the lone star state, Sex In Dallas is in fact a French trio that create electro-pop music that feels like it could have been made any time in the past 30 years. Mixing in a bit of old school with a bit of new school, the group has already released a couple 12" singles that have caught airplay with everyone from John Peel to Andrew Weatherall and Miss Kittin.
Having heard Around War, I just have to say that I really don't understand the hype. Sure, there are nods to just about everything from Giorgio Moroder to Daft Punk, but this 10-track release just feels like rehashed ideas mainly hinged on gimmicks that I've already heard before. In case that isn't clear, the opening track of "Crazy Dogs" is in fact, just that. Over a bed of orchestral string stabs, warm pads and dance beats are various sounds of dogs barking. Pitched up and down, the barks sound more like the work of someone fiddling around with their first sampling keyboard than anything too groundbreaking, but I was willing to give them a chance beyond that.
"Berlin Rocks" follows (it was one of their first bigger singles) and again minor key sampled strings swirl while synths buzz and old school drum-machine beats thump. Meanwhile, spoken-word vocals (a feature of their other big single "Everybody Deserves To Be Fucked") add commentary in a dreary, seen-it-all slackerish sort of way. Even the title track of "Around The War" mixes drunkspeak vocals with old-school techno keyboard arpeggios and minimal beats. The trio does succeed in places, though, as on the nicely subdued "Song Of The Beach," on which Adrienne Walter is given vocal duties while childlike minor-key melodies play out underneath. Although the disc gets stronger towards the end of the release, it's not quite enough to salvage things. Trucker-hat techno from France? You betcha.