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#1 (Capitol)

It's funny how #1 is finally receiving a proper U.S. release, now that the electroclash backlash is raging. The album's songs actually have been circulating since 2000, appearing in different versions on Germany's International DJ Gigolos and England's Ministry of Sound labels. The New York-based troupe (its membership can swell to over 20) has a press pack as thick as a metropolitan phone book and fans whose names are boldfaced in gossip columns, so there's a strong impulse to hate these bespangled drama queens.

But as '80s electro-revivalists go, Fischerspooner -- classically trained musician Warren Fischer and video/performance artist Casey Spooner -- are certainly entertaining (especially live, as #1's bonus DVD footage proves). Spooner sings like New Order's Bernard Sumner sans the angst, while one of the many female vocalists does a persuasively brassy Deborah Harry imitation over bouncy electro-pop. And Fischerspooner earns cred points for its tender, loving cover of Wire's classic pop song "The 15th." But be forewarned: The archly camp #1 really makes sense only when heard in a megaclub by a listener who's blitzed -- not when it's played on the stereo by someone sober as Ian Mackaye.

More by Dave Segal


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