Heads We Dance - Love Technology
Michael James Hall 07/05/2009
Futurist retro-lovers Heads We Dance are a Leeds combo with their hearts firmly dedicated to the sound of nearby Steel City, Sheffield.
It's the purist romantic dance-pop of Heaven 17 and ABC that make their presence felt most keenly over these eleven tracks, and while throwing in a Kraftwerk cover and comparing themselves to Cut Copy may throw you off the scent briefly, it's the grandiose floor-fillers of the early eighties that are most often evoked here.
Disregarding an anomalous Daft Punk tribute opener (ironically titled 'The Human Touch'), and the occasional channelling of London's The Modern (most noticeably on the boy-girl exchanges of 'When The Sirens Sound' and grinding industrial romance of 'Love In the Digital Age'), it's a danceable pop record firmly rooted in the New Romantic mould.
Dabbling lyrically with faux-dystopian imagery and generally poor 'love vs. the machine' type concerns, it's a thematically empty record that passes muster by occasionally delivering a vast sweeping chorus ('Gold City') or, as on 'Ubik', an ethereal melody and a smattering of haunting beats.
Sadly, when they attempt wry humour, as on 'Low Carbon Life' they stumble, and when going for one hundred per cent pop gold like 'You Are Never Alone', HWD finish squarely draped in bronze. Vocals here are often weak, however melodious and sometimes call up the idea of My Life Story's Jake Shillingford on an off day - not a deeply pleasant thing to imagine, let alone put up with for an entire album.
Their essential problem, though, seems to stem mainly from the band's indecision as to whether they are in the camp of underground bleep heroes like Laptop or trying to compete with Top 40 pop piss. At the moment they lack the focus to crash the party successfully on either side of the fence. This album reflects that fact.
Release date: 01/06/09