If Soft Cell and Fever Ray discovered vocoders at Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ album launch party.
The Casual Sexists enjoy being a little bit chaotic. From their industrial crunchy drum loops to their pointed lyrics – everything is housed in an aggressive groove. ‘Your Prescription Is Ready’ is an interesting album that comes off as a darker, sardonic rendition of Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ album. It houses all the pop tropes but reassembles them as dark industrial synth pop instead.
Some tracks live my sounds like tag perfectly. ‘Fresh Legs’ is an early 90’s Madonna bop given a Pet Shop Boys does industrial vibe. Elsewhere the excellent ‘My Heartbeat Keeps Me Awake’, ‘Moving Forward, Moving Back’ and ‘Wondrous Disease’ all take 90’s dance or pop ideas and thrusts them into 2021. Vocoders, glitchy melodies, angry two fingers waived at today’s society – it’s all here. In particular, the drum tracks are really sleek and have a human fluidity to them that often drum machine tracks don’t have. I also enjoyed how atmospheric noises were incorporated into tracks. Everyday noises and sirens pop up melodically to inform the daily chaotic grind. When it works, it works well.
The flipside is that some songs feel a little obtuse. ‘Thin Line’ is a bold reggae synthpop number with marmite vocal delivery that didn’t land for me. The Casual Sexists share vocal duties and Ed’s vocals are offkey spoken Pet Shop Boys meets male Freezepop. In small snippets, his voice makes a great vocal texture. When he takes the vocal lead it’s a bit hit and miss. Varrick sounds very similar to Freezepop’s vocalists and so she is able to glide along serenely. This means they actually balance quite nicely when they sing together. As with all music – it is personal taste and your mileage will vary.
There is definitely something of a rough gem hidden here. Fans of Fever Ray’s ‘Plunge’ album, Freezepop and 90’s dance music will likely find a fair bit to enjoy. Dance punk is a great mash-up and I’m really intrigued to see how The Casual Sexists groove into the future.
Recommended track: My heartbeat Keeps Me Awake
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