Joy Electric Hello Mannequin

This is synth-pop outfit Joy Electric’s 16th (count ’em) album — clearly vocalist/producer Ronnie Morris is rather prolific. Perhaps a bit too much so, as Hello Mannequin clocks in at over an hour, with 14 tracks divided up into two sides (remember records, kids?). The album kicks off with bouncy hooks, but the super-slick sound soon starts to grate. With nothing but synthesisers and Morris’ average vocals, there’s little musical variety or depth here. And let’s not get started on the lyrics — a strange hodgepodge of everything from "The Birth of the Telegram, 1814” to a song about inventor Nikola Tesla. At least those songs suggest some imagination, something that cannot be said for the title track, which features the immortal refrain: "Hello, mannequin/I’m tired/Hello, mannequin/I’m cold,” and so on. There’s something to be said for longevity, but this release suggests that Morris should be focusing on quality over quantity. (Tooth and Nail)