The Rentals

Lost in Alphaville

The RentalsLost in Alphaville
The Rentals first full-length in 15 years features tracks from the Songs about Time EPs (2009). Lost In Alphaville is more radio-friendly and subdued, largely due to D. Sardy's (LCD Soundsystem, Jay Z) production, as evidenced by the commercial pop quality of "Seven Years."

Sharp can't be accused of repeating himself, nor diverging entirely from his past. This album has less fuzzy nerd-rock force than the Rentals' '90s releases, instead offering a dreamy brand of pop peppered with thunderclaps and static-y synths. His murmured vocals are more deadpan, but are digitized beautifully. The Lucius ladies' choral singing, at times Dido-esque, doesn't always mesh with the futuristic musical backdrop ("Traces of Our Tears"), but fits when Buggles-esque ("Irrational Things").

The impressive musical interludes throughout serve as a reminder of Sharp's songwriting skills, foremost the transistor-quality of the synths, like on the Love and Rockets-y "Thought of Sound." The album's highlight, "1000 Seasons," brings together layers of 8-bit sounds, strings and a nod to new wave seamlessly. Sharp laments the weakening of expression though technology, which is fitting, as this applies to the album. Where there were once fireworks, the Rentals still deliver a bit of a lazer show. (Polyvinyl)
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