XX Teens Return to Goon Island

At a time when receiving a seal of approval from the NME more often than not leads to crushed hopes and calls for blood, XX Teens must be nervously looking over their shoulders. And truly, after receiving enthusiastic plaudits from the venerable British rag for a couple of their singles, these Brits go and lay a big old goose egg with Return To Goon Island. The Teens are partial to generally taking the same path on their songs: start with Mark E. Smith’s dry, post-modern drawl, add a few disjointed guitar parts here and there, provide a punchy, propulsive beat and harness some admittedly sharp pop instincts. As a variation, dabble with dub and throw in some horns, the odd sitar and speckles of new wave-y synths keyboards. The slick, polished production exposes these affectations for what they are: artifice for the sake of artifice, speaking loudly but saying little of worth. (Mute)