Friday, April 23, 1999

Electronic - Twisted Tenderness: Deluxe

Raise The Pressure, Electronic's 1996 release, was met with mixed reviews as many felt it was less imaginative than their self-titled debut. Radio airplay didn't help the album either but it did hurt the release of the duo's follow-up album which wouldn't get released in the U.S. until nearly a year and a half after it's U.K. counterpart. Koch Records decided to not only release the album but to release a double-CD deluxe version containing extra tracks and remixes.

On the very first track, Electronic step out of all expectations and throw down the gauntlet with the rock meets drum 'n bass first single "Make It Happen." I will probably always be haunted by how the harmonica and keyboards meld on "Vivid." Who would have thought to add the harmonica mastery Johnny Marr had previously applied on The The albums to an Electronic album? The title track opens with keyboard stabs that I'd expect from Electronic or New Order but Bernard Sumner turns it into something new with a tremendous vocal performance on a throbbing bass line and rock drums. Actually, the rock edge is all over this album on tracks like "Prodigal Son" and "Like No Other." The only song that really sounds like any of their earlier work would be "When She's Gone." The beauty of "Warning Sign" (amongst the bonus tracks on the disc 2) alone makes going with the deluxe release worthwhile. My only complaints are with the 4 remixes of "Prodigal Son" (I mean, come on...there are 8 other tracks there without remixes) and "Radiation" which is definitely b-side material.

Lyrically, Sumner has grown exponentially. Marr's influence seems more present and adds some new sonic avenues to a duo that might have been pigeonholed by their name. I was wary of buying this album as an import ($30 for a CD? Shoot me now!) when it was first released. I'm happy that I didn't. I wouldn't have listened to anything else.

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