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Scratch & Sniff
     

Scratch & Sniff

by Countdown
 
The Countdown are a Chicago-based duo, Tamar Berk and Steven Denekas, who perform under the stage names Roxie Starr and Stiff Starr. As their pseudonyms suggest, they're heavily indebted to the arch trashiness of the '80s new wave era; the blatant rip-off of the cover art from Human Sexual Response's art-punk classic Fig. 14 is

Overview

The Countdown are a Chicago-based duo, Tamar Berk and Steven Denekas, who perform under the stage names Roxie Starr and Stiff Starr. As their pseudonyms suggest, they're heavily indebted to the arch trashiness of the '80s new wave era; the blatant rip-off of the cover art from Human Sexual Response's art-punk classic Fig. 14 is another big clue. (Interestingly, however, the album's sole cover is a chilly electronic rendering of Big Black's "Bad Penny," a song that postdates the duo's favorite era by nearly a half-decade.) Scratch & Sniff comes at the listener in a barrage of noisy new wave synths, distorted guitars, and clattering drum machines, with the duo's caterwauling vocals deliberately buried in the classic new wave style of hollow, distant-sounding mixes. They clearly know their antecedents backward and forward; the problem is that the songs rarely live up to their promise. The one inarguable highlight of the originals is "Human Resources," which would stand up next to a classic single by Rough Trade or Slow Children, especially the Radio 4 remix that emphasizes Berk's hectoring vocals. The remaining songs get the sound and the pose right, but they lack the pop-single sparkle and killer chorus of "Human Resources." On the other hand, a lot of the original new wave bands only had one really great song too.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/12/2004
Label:
Underground Inc
UPC:
0637642109121
catalogNumber:
421091

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