El Guapo Fake French

On their second release with Dischord, and with the same line-up, you'd anticipate that El Guapo would have solidified as a group and as a sound. Regretfully, these artsy electro-punk dance numbers don't quite feel complete. Fake French opens with the promising "Glass House," but quickly dissipates throughout the mid-section of the album into droning vocal rounds, an almost irritating repetitiveness, and ridiculous lyrics that force you to wonder if these guys are completely serious or just plain weird. Much of the record features a call and response style in which the caller has it together, but the refrain lets it down, forcing an aural double-take and pushing the song into the realm of too-bizarre silliness. That said, this record is not all bad, but rather a hit-and-miss collection. Tracks like "Ocean and Sky" and "The Time: Night" find the band in their best suit. Displayed here is a fuller, more intricate and woven layer of sound that includes traditional instruments to supplement synthesisers and electronics that can become too thin, airy and metallic when standing alone. El Guapo also benefit from a raised tempo in "Pick It Up," that makes the repetitiveness feel animated and energetic instead of lethargic and monotonous. El Guapo appear to demonstrate the capacity to develop a tighter, more natural style, but until then Fake French will have to be enjoyed selectively. (Dischord)