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Album Review: John Maus - Addendum

16 May 2018 | 9:00 am | Guido Farnell

"Probably best described as a classic Maus sound."

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There is nothing quite like a new John Maus album to take you back in time to the early synth-pop '80s when perhaps you might have been discovering Vince Clarke and the charms of Depeche Mode's Speak & Spell or Yazoo's Upstairs At Eric's.

Addendum is a companion piece to last year's Screen Memories. It's comprised of tracks that were initially recorded for Screen Memories, but didn't quite fit with the more serious tone of that album. These tracks find the erudite Maus in the mood to let his hair down and have some fun. Will Self did once instruct us that our idea of fun is relative and for the most part Maus gets off sounding like Ian Curtis boogieing on down to boppy death disco.

Critics may suggest that Maus doesn't break any new ground on Addendum, which features what's probably best described as a classic Maus sound. Modular synth textures, twinkling arpeggiated synths that move in time with bouncy beats provide a mix over which Maus' vocals meander, bored but with electro-punk attitude. Deeply indebted to the '80s, Maus knows how to work retro synth-pop styles and keep it fun for contemporary listeners.

 

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