Client

City (Mute)

Though Client's initial presentation is that of germphobic damsels lodged in an Orwellian dystopia, the sleek production skills and faux-menacing vocals of Client B and A, respectively, make them more like sexy, detached women reveling in their own robo-pop dreamscape.

Depeche Mode's Andy Fletcher is no longer their mentor, and it seems to suit the girls just fine. Instead, the synth-pop fetishists have relied on other peers and idols to aid in their cause. Even in drug-addled melodrama, the Libertines are still in demand, as its two dueling front men, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty, guest on separate tracks (surprise!). Barat easily has the upper hand with "Pornography," as his hangover growl lends an offsetting dynamic to the pub-crawl electro melodies. Barat's howls are lost amid the powerful Joy Divisionesque "Down to the Underground," but it still helps add a warm edge to the cold disconnect that hovers throughout. "Theme" and "Chill of October" prove Client isn't as one-dimensional as it sometimes suggests, as the former takes an instrumental cue from early Simple Minds and Human League, while the second is symphonic balladry told in a post-apocalyptic future. Even with numerous cameos, Citynever feels cluttered, instead establishing Client as a versatile, inviting force that its façade doesn't readily suggest. -- Kiran Aditham

 
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