Bachelorette My Electric Family

Annabel Alpers obviously doesn't follow the software instructions that normally come with the "how to be a technology-driven solo artist" bundle. Rather than a few icy synth pads and dinky drum loops the New Zealander opts to layer wah pedal guitar and vintage analogue sequences under her warm, multi-tracked voice. Finally adding live drums to '80s-inspired structures, vocoders and arpeggiators, the illusion of having unearthed the missing link between Kraftwerk and Debbie Harry is convincing. But Alpers is more soldering siren than dance floor diva. After the misleading acoustic guitar/pedal steel/shuffling snare opener that sets up like a Jesse Sykes late nighter, the rest of the album settles straight into circuit city. The tech bytes are all over the bit maps as well. Some verge on early Luscious Jackson ("Mindwarp"), others deeply frozen Bananarama ("Her Rotating Head") and others have hints of Howard Jones-esque electro balladry ("Donkey"). It's a long, strange trip down memory bank lane. (Drag City)