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Album Review: Pop Etc - Pop Etc

5 July 2012 | 6:47 pm | Mac McNaughton

Bedroom-budget, basement-fidelity electronic pop music is the order of the day here, like an under-funded Phoenix who’ve had their ‘80s record collection taken away.

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It's always a bit risky to change a band name when your deep into that group's life. Even harder when you've got releases under your belt ,and Brooklyn trio The Morning Benders released two albums of indie-coolness before realising the moniker was too distracting and plumping with the much more sedative Pop Etc. To hammer home the point, the cover artwork to this third album lists lots of musical styles... which you won't find contained within. Talk about false advertising.

Bedroom-budget, basement-fidelity electronic pop music is the order of the day here, like an under-funded Phoenix who've had their '80s record collection taken away. While the French group reach beyond the confines and thrive with humbly constructed, big sounding synth-pop, Pop Etc don't quite get out of their jim-jams. Singer Chris Chu sounds so snuggled up, waiting for milk and cookies to be brought to him as he sings mostly pallid songs of friendships and feeling a bit toey. It seems a cop-out to name a song R.Y.B. (instead of 'Rock Your Body') so as not to confuse it with a Justin Timberlake hit. Lead single Keep It For Your Own sounds most like a fully-fired band, but it still sounds watered down, even by producer by Danger Mouse's standards. He doesn't stick around for the whole album, and the release is sorely lacking for it.

Closer Yoyo finally unleashes the promised pop-gasm, but it's stashed away at the end. By which point, most people will have dozed off.