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CD Review: !!! 

Strange Weather, Isn’t It? (Warp)

!!! not only predated electroclash by five years, they've survived their brief post-millennial window of popularity without deviating much. Indeed, in "Steady as the Sidewalk Cracks" (from the new Strange Weather, Isn't It?), frontman Nic Offer sings, "When I was young they called it garbage, now suddenly it's golden age/The only thing that changed was we turned the page." Certainly little has changed in !!!'s sound, which still writhes to a disco beat gilded with a dash of dance-punk frisson. On the surface, it may seem like nothing has changed at all, but their fourth album is their hookiest and most streamlined. They've pared back the knotty and layered arrangements in favor of more straightforward dance-floor jams and big, infectious vocal hooks. It's overly polished at times, but it also goes down smooth, especially the dreamy and atmospheric "Jamie My Intentions Are Bass" and the bustling pop confection "The Most Certain Sure." Chris Parker

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