Lazer Crystal MCMLXXX

Because of my job and age I find myself occasionally in the awkward position of defending music of the '80s. "For every Kajagoogoo there was a Tom Tom Club" is the kind of curmudgeonly claim you'd hear me make. Lazer Crystal's riposte, conversely, would be: "For every Cabaret Voltaire there was a Harold Faltermeyer." To be fair, this Chicago, IL trio (Nicholas Read, Josh Johannpeter and Mikale De Graff) draw on everything from Depeche Mode (at their most relevant) to the Lost Boys soundtrack (at its most banal) to encapsulate this troublesome decade. Motorik rhythms pulse from octagonal drums and the romantic lyrics are gravely intoned, sometimes through vocoder. It isn't that the Kraftwerk-via-Giorgio Moroder shtick isn't fun; it's just that Thrill Jockey's Trans Am got there first, about 15 years ago, before irony was a McDonald's menu item. (Thrill Jockey)