Neulander Smoke + Fire

Adam Peters, an ex-keyboard player with Echo and the Bunnymen, and Korinna Knoll, a Fine Arts graduate from Austria, have paired up to create circa early ’80s electro-pop. In the initial track, "Sex, God + Money,” released as a ten-inch in October, Knoll’s slightly aloof singing about these universal preoccupations blends smoothly with the lushly orchestrated keyboards and cello. The melancholic disconnectedness of "Flying” is probably the most emotive track of the ten on Smoke + Fire, and is pleasingly back-dropped by drum machine beats reminiscent of Soft Cell’s "Tainted Love.” The last track, "Peoples’ Love,” is the sparest composition of the lot with a raw sounding guitar, and it nicely finishes off the album. There’s one cringe-worthy track, the slow "Sometimes,” which Knoll’s voice can’t quite carry — really, her accent is more charming than her voice. The chugging club-worthy "Blue Bird Party” also suffers because of the weak vocals. The other tracks are well produced and include nice elements — electronic bits that will sound good in a club and the judicious use of a vocoder — but are otherwise unremarkable. (disko b)