Vitesse What Can Not Be, But Is...

Vitesse's third outing is a stellar collection of melancholic synth pop. With a sound heavily rooted in old New Order and OMD, the duo of Hewson Chen and Josh Klein have perfected their formula of dark electronic pop. Although recorded in the unlikely locale of Nashville, Tennessee, What Can Not Be couldn't be further from that musical environment - soft keyboards, simple guitar melodies and a flat vocal style (reminiscent of the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt) all work around the framework of great songs, such as the dreamy "A Way To My Redemption" or "Understand." Don't be expecting any particularly uplifting dance tracks here, though, this is moody bedroom synth pop designed to produce an emotional response rather than a physical one, and it works. Included in the album's ten tracks are a couple of nifty covers: OMD's "2nd Thought" and, oddly, Bruce Springsteen's "Unsatisfied Heart," which works remarkably well in this arrangement. With a growing acceptance for wearing your '80s electro pop influences on your sleeve, indie bands of all shapes and sizes have been digging out the old keyboard gear to see what happens. Although lots of what is being produced today might not be terribly worthy of attention, Vitesse have hit the mark, and really come out of their shell with this album. (Acuarela)