12 Rods Separation Anxieties

Reviving the '80s is not always a good idea. What their record label calls "futuristic," most would call "cheesy retro." Separation Anxieties, their second album, is full of bubble-gum pop coated in '80s nausea. The melodies seem to have potential, but are then ruined by either the "futuristic-ness" or the terrible lyrics. Songwriter and singer Ryan Olcott's topic of conversation is, of course, separation anxieties and broken hearts, but the words he chooses to express it all are just unfortunate. "What Has Happened?" sees Olcott resort to band bashing as his girlfriend leaves him for a guy "Who's in a band that sounds like Korn/But pretentiously aggressive/Not too impressive." Even the song titles are awful. Take "Astrogimp," "Radioaction" or "Marionette," where Olcott frequently worries he's, you guessed it, a marionette. 12 Rods could be better if they abandoned everything they stand for. (BMG)