Lali Puna - Tridecoder
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Lali Puna
Tridecoder

Once again, I'm reviewing releases out-of-order, but after starting my Lali Puna craving with their Scary World Theory release, I felt like I had to go back and hear their older work as well. Surprisingly, it not only holds up with the newer release, but is just as good in my opinion, despite being slightly different in style. Oh, it's still some of the better electronic pop music that I've heard in recent time, but Tridecoder takes on a slightly more 'band' feel in that although the same elements are still there, you can imagine them being played more by humans instead of machines.

Like Scary World Theory, this release opens up with one of the most sing-along tracks on the disc (and on this release, one of the only ones actually sung in English by Valerie Trebeljahr) in "6-0-3." In the fine tradition of all counting songs, it sticks in your head with numeric simplicity, and the keyboard and subtle drum machine backing offer a nice compliment. Taking on even more of a rough edge, "Rapariga Da Banheira" adds some live drums to the mix along with a strummy bassline to backup the breathy vocals.

After another solid track in "Antena Trash," the album drops a stunner with the simple, dancefloor ready "System On." One of only two instrumentals on the disc, it thumps along with a thick beat, an almost Peter Hook-esque (think early New Order) bassline, and a repetitive keyboard melody that will have you humming along as your hips sway. "Everywhere & Allover" again mixes a nice bassline (courtesy of Markus Acher aka Console) in alongside some flanged-out live drumming sounds and a simple keyboard melody. Trebeljahr alternates between breathy and detached spoken-word for the vocals (for the verse and chorus respectively), and still doesn't manage to come off sounding too euro-snobbish (as many spoken word tracks with accents do).

Of course, that same detachment presents somewhat of a problem on the otherwise clever "Toca-Discos" and its interesting percussion and slight click/glitch influence. "Fast Forward" is easily one of the prettiest tracks that the group has done to date. Trebeljahr again switches off her vocals between sung and spoken word while downright cute keyboard melodies linger and float in the background. During the chorus, sampled strings rise up and add yet another nice element to the things. At 9 tracks and just under 40 minutes total time, the album is just the right length to give you a nice dose of the groups sound without overdoing things. In some ways, the slightly more raw sounds on this disc appeal to me more at times, yet the songwriting is slightly better overall on Scary World Theory. At any rate, it's another fine release, and a great debut for the group.

rating: 7.7510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00