Adult. & Volt CDs reviewed by John Graham

Music Reviews
Adult. & Volt CDs reviewed by John Graham
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Jul 27, 2007, 07:12

Adult. - Why Bother?
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ADULT. Why Bother? CD  VOLT CD

With every robotic step, Adult. clomps closer to mastering the synth-drunk deathpunk of other recent retro acts like Subtonix and the Vanishing, or maybe even spunky New Wave killbots the Epoxies, only with more hate and less sugar frosting. This is a fine thing. Of course, the original source for all these bands flows from the fonts of early Siouxsie, Suicide, Screamers, and Cabaret Voltaire, with post-Throbbing Gristle duo Chris & Cosey occasionally glancing down from belfry. Speaking of TG, today's Adult. sounds more industrial than ever: Adam Lee Miller's old analog synths seem almost sickening, as if he puked out their noises after too much time in a G-force machine. And then there are the electric basslines from “I Feel Worse When I'm With You” and “You Don't Worry Enough,” which could have been recorded in the darkest hollows of the Batcave in London, circa 1983. During these and other spiteful rants like “Inclined to Vomit,” singer Nicola Kuperus wisely drops the android monotones of her early work and sounds legitimately pissed. I like that in a woman. Now if only Adult. could buy some equipment manufactured after 1989. Then we could stop having to denigrate them as too-easy New Wave revivalists and deal with them on their own terms.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic,Volt's Jacques Amsellem and Lili Zeller punk up their Wave even further, adding more guitar and more speedy deliveries. Despite hailing from Paris (of all places), Volt falls in line with an American synth-rock aesthetic of the type forwarded by The A-Frames or Jay Reatard—though I suppose you could count 1970s French drum-machine punks Metal Urbain as a national prototype. Like Adult., Volt is a male-female duo augmented with old keyboards and beatboxes, except here both members sing, trading yipping barks and sexy slurs between sawing garage-rock riffs and those always blipping synths. Thus Volt's eponymous debut is akin to something like The Kills pogoing to death-disco. It's still retro, but compared to In the Red's usual output, Volt sounds absolutely futuristic. And, more importantly, despite being grounded in rock'n'roll, it's still an electronic rocket blast for your ass. I didn't even know the French had a space program...did you? [Adult.: Thrill Jockey / Volt: In the Red]

-J Graham

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