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Add N to (X) 

Loud Like Nature (Mute)

British trio Add N to (X)'s music has a piquancy rare for musicians obsessed with obscure electronic library music, krautrock, easy-listening auteurs, and avant-garde composers. While they may own shelves of Pierre Henry, Jean-Jacques Perrey, and Can albums, the members of Add N to (X) also realize the importance of sleaze and sex in their warped sonic equations. Their ability to craft a tune you can whistle after one listen doesn't hurt their likability either.

Loud Like Nature, these analog-synth fetishists' fourth album of skewed electro-pop for the Mute label, is their most concise and user-friendly yet. Only 1 of its 13 tracks exceeds five minutes, and the randy hooks stay with you, partly because they're so concentrated. Several stabs at Gary Glitter-style glam rock ("Total All Out Water" and "Take Me to Your Leader") teeter between parody and brilliant facsimile. "Large Number" crosses Devo's spastic new wave with Suicide's lean, neon rhythmic buzz. "Up the Punks" pits clipped funk beats and quirky scatting against beautiful strings, flute, and angelic synth swirls. Making such unlikely instrumental and stylistic combinations so compelling is just one of Add N to (X)'s many peculiar talents. Listen and discover why these geeks are cooler than you'll ever be.

More by Dave Segal

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