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Par Avion by Xeno & Oaklander
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9/10 Brian 20 June 2014

One of my favourite electro-pop acts of the past few years have been this New Yorker M/F duo comprising French/Norwegian derived beauty Liz Wendelbo and her beau Sean McBride. Together they've been responsible for some electrifying nuggets of icy, authentic Euro-centric electro, many records coming out through the zeitgeist-capturing (and spell-check flustering) Wierd records.

To be fair I've always struggled a little with Sean's flat, nasally vocals (very Andy McLuskey) although his timbre does somehow suit the minimal propulsion of the chosen tracks. But Liz's ethereal flights of fancy I've always found utterly thrilling, spectrally matching the bouncy delirium of their analogue machines. When they really hit their stride this duo are responsible for some really divine retro-futuristic pop music. That they never stray far from their idiosyncratically purist template is something most commendable. You know you are in for a quality ride with these two little legends.

I must be honest and state that if you have no particular fondness for the darker, exotic recesses of the 80's or any other European synth-wave pop music, you're unlikely to have that distaste combated by this new album. It's another great, elegantly constructed X&O masterpiece to these ears so if you are a convert to their icy cool rhythmic delights and time-bending cosmic pop then 'Par Avion' should certainly be on your list. Unlike my previous electro squeezes Adult., their ship-jump to the legendary Ghostly International hasn't blunted their edges. Possibly because their edges were silky-smooth, crystalline and very graceful to begin with.

This is slinky, sensual music touched with strangeness and, at junctures, a moody sub-Gothic darkness that I find quite delectable.


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