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Sunday, July 3, 2005

LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS

Datarock: "Datarock Datarock"


Weirdness exerts its own energy, which is why Talking Heads and The Happy Mondays made such great dance music. In front of a tight combo of drums, bass and rhythm guitar the lead singer couldn't keep his feet on the ground or his brain in his skull. Datarock, two guys from Norway, understand this juxtaposition.

On the opening cut of their debut album, vocalist Frederik Saroea deconstructs the rhythmic possibilities of a series of words starting with "bulldozer" and ending with "motorcycle driver," thus setting off a paroxysm of discofied heebie-jeebies. "I need a hit of contrition," he shouts hoarsely, forcing the syllables out as distinct nuggets of sound amid fierce flurries of guitar. And on the mostly synthetic and entirely irresistible "I Used to Dance With My Daddy" he and bassist/programming partner Ketil Mosnes keep piling on the incomprehensible phrases until they are subsumed in their own bugaloo cadences.

Saroea can compose a touching ode to Laurie Anderson ("I want to be Lou Reed/ 'cause I ain't"), but he makes more of an impression describing a crush he had on a girl at "computer camp." "She was a genius and a Venus," he sings. Weirdos can be romantics, too.



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