Solvent Solvent City

The follow-up to Solvently One Listens, but nowhere near as playfully manic, rather Solvent City adheres closer to his '80s synth pop influences, like early Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. A close listen to Solvent's latest effort yields that the compositions are as detailed and meticulous as ever, and what was sacrificed in energy has been made up for in restraint and timing. The first half of the album has a happy, bubbly tone, exemplified through cute melodies like "Some Assembly Required" and "Solvent City." The latter half is where the rhythmic styling and clipped robotic vocals are more pronounced, especially on tracks like "Built-in Microphone" and "Not for Sale." The best track on this CD by far is "A Panel of Experts," as remixed by fellow electro modulator Lowfish. The track intersperses robotic vocals with layered synth lines that build in anticipation until a peak is reached, one where the rhythms kick in at the very last possible moment, creating an evocative, nostalgic piece. Though I miss the crazy energy of Solvently, I appreciate the restrained, composition-oriented direction he took this time around. (Morr)