by: Rival Consoles

To say that Rival Consoles' debut album is defiantly retro is to miss the point -- there is no other function for the album but to be retro to begin with, an intentional reclaiming of a time and place while still finding a way to make it something that could only be released in 2009. Thus the knowing nods of the song titles and cover art and more to a never-never land of electronics and computers in around 1981 is conditioned at all points by the strength of the beats and the deft facility of the cut-ups and squelching crunch that sole bandmember Ryan Lee West brings to songs like the title track. The unspoken downside is that West has clear enough role models to follow if not fully ape -- Daft Punk and Justice not in the least, as the heavy rock-via-synth punch of songs like "1985" show clearly. Whether Rival Consoles reaches the level of those two acts and others in terms of putting a stamp on a sound is an open question for now, but in the meantime, there's nothing wrong with simply dancing away. ~ Ned Raggett

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