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Dovetail

Coloma

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Album Review

Switching from Ware to Klein, Coloma follow two of the finest electronic pop albums of the early 2000s with Dovetail, a 40-minute set that retains the same lyrical quality but forgoes most of the duo's previous reliance on machines. Rob Taylor and Alex Paulick, two Englishmen who remain based in Germany, pick up more organic instruments and utilize over a dozen musicians. Dovetail reads like a big production, and in a sense it is, but the duo's aptitude for using only what's necessary — with masterful layering — is another holdover from their earlier material. Again, the duo makes sophisticated, wholly European pop sound entirely modern, while existing well outside the mainstream frame of any territory. If you have a strong stomach when it comes to puns, you might call it cabaret debonair. Taylor's voice, as confident and capable as ever, maintains the mannered boyishness heard on Silverware and Finery, and it does sound best-suited for arrangements that involve somber-to-sprightly horn sections, ticking vibraphones, and humming electric pianos. Recorded in three days at two locations, including Conny Plank's studio in Cologne, the results then underwent an intensive editing process at the hands of Paulick, who spliced and rearranged the elements. His work is, however, practically invisible. The songs sound as if they were made in real time with only minor overdubbing. Lyrically, they cover a wide range of perspectives, despite the steady delivery, and countless lines clasp to memory on first listen. On "Motorway Stray," Taylor cuts down a loser: "You've wasted your talent/Turned your back on the kids/But you're more a drunk librarian/Than a poet on the skids." On "No Moving Parts," the highlight of the album, he's in awe of someone he can't figure out: "Work out your secrets, maybe I could even repair you/Aside from your cats eyes and your racing heart/No moving parts." On "Happiness Is Deafening," he addresses an unrequited love and is even more penetrating: "I hear you there in seventh heaven/You've turned the dial up to eleven/Passion is just a matter of taste/Jealousy takes all feeling away." (Perhaps he's dealing with the same person the whole time.) Should Bryan Ferry ever feel up to doing another covers album, he can get all his material in one spot: right here.

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Coloma is the duo of vocalist Rob Taylor and producer Alex Paulick. The Englishmen reside in Germany and signed with Mathias Schaffhäuser's Ware label for their debut album, 2002's Silverware. They returned the following year with the phenomenal Finery, recorded at Conny Plank's studio and also released on Ware. The album was a brilliant headfirst dive into previously unchartered waters, a cross between minimal dance music and sophisti-pop. Two years later, they released the relatively organic Dovetail...
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Dovetail, Coloma
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