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"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Electronic

MUSIC REVIEWS

 

Electronic-Get the Message: The Best of... (Rhino)

The whole idea of the supergroup sometimes seems oxymoronic.  Often they are neither super nor really a group, just a bunch of stars trying to shoehorn their styles into lockstep.

Therefore it's always fascinating when one actually clicks.  Electronic seemed more unlikely than most, just because it merged talents from two of the most individualistic and artistically innovative new wave groups two bands that also had very distinctive styles.

Bernard Sumner, the lead singer of New Order, was in the middle of one of his group's periodic down periods.  Smiths lead guitarist Johnny Marr had just lived through a very messy musical divorce with singer Morrissey.

Sumner and Marr got together in 1990 as a one-off to put together the sublime single "Getting Away With It."  For this recording, they were even more of a supergroup than their eventual regular lineup; joining Sumner and Marr was Pet Shop Boys leader Neil Tennant, who contributed atmospheric harmony vocals.  The resulting single was nearly perfect, it still sounds amazingly fresh sixteen years later.  The song also became a surprise smash, topping the charts in Europe and even denting the top 30 in the US.

This surprise popular connection convinced Sumner and Marr to change this lark into a legitimate side project.  Electronic ended up recording three albums periodically over the years, and while they never bettered their amazing opening salvo, they did create some vital music.

The closest they came to another hit was "Get the Message," which added jangly guitars and gospel vocals to the template in a single which came close to living up to the first.  The band became the vessel for the principals' experimental urges like the rock/rap of "Feel Every Beat," the pounding guitars and harmonica of "Vivid" and the pop of "All That I Need."  (10/06)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.  Posted: October 21, 2006.

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Copyright 2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.  Posted: October 21, 2006.

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