Reverse Dotty Licorice Whips

Portland, OR's Reverse Dotty have managed quite a self-aware feat: creating an ironic post-ironic persona and album that, because of their sometimes over-posturing, can't be taken too seriously. But the joke's on them because their Joaquin Phoenix-ing is a little too good, at times. Amidst the 14 mostly throwaway tracks on debut album Licorice Whips lies a handful of surprisingly tuned-in takes on post-punk and synth pop that tread on the heels of DD/MM/YY or the D'Urbervilles. On "Fuck Juice No. 9," both the title and the opening voicemail recording of a failed job interview follow-up scream for the wrong kind of attention but the track that unfolds is dark, aggressive proof that Felony Dot, the female half of the band's vocals, should handle the duty full-time. The pure indie pop of album closer "Dot Blue" is entirely out of place but stands out as a highlight and another reason why the painful David Byrne direction is one that Reverse Dotty should drop altogether. (Spotty)