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Faking the Books

Lali Puna

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Album Review

Lali Puna don't allow their soft electronic-pop to be washed out by the sharp guitars that occasionally poke out of this, the group's third album for Morr Music. Those who picked up 2003's "Left Handed" single — provided again on this disc — were possibly taken aback by the instant buzzing surge in the chorus of the A-side, and, excepting the electronic noise that flutters deep in the background throughout the song, it's as ordinarily constructed as a hook-heavy indie rock tune. Though it's as effective and as charming as any other, crossing the pensive drive of New Order with the jagged bounce of the missed Life Without Buildings, it's free of the cozy synth-generated colors that helped make the group stand out from their peers on 2001's Scary World Theory. The rest of Faking the Books tends not to follow this mold. Electronic elements balance out the harsh guitars with regularity, resulting in a handful of full-blown zingers. These songs — "Call 1-800-FEAR," "Micronomic," "B-Movie" — bring the wallop, involving queasy synth bleats and blasting guitars in equal doses, along with melodies that are as sweet as ever. Several other tracks are either truer to the older material or slightly more experimental than what you're used to hearing from them. "Geography-5" is a skeletal lullaby with spare percussion and purring synths; "Alienation" and "Crawling by Numbers" fit in strings while also acting as safe havens for listeners who have been antagonized by too much lazy glitch stuff. As stunted as Valerie Trebeljahr's politically minded lyrics might be from time to time, her voice remains a comforting thing to hear. All of these highlights add up to the best Teen Beat record not released by Teen Beat.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in Munich, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

After the 1998 breakup of her previous band, the Munich-based L.B. Page, Korea-born vocalist Valerie Trebeljahr formed the experimental electro-pop group Lali Puna. Although Lali Puna was intended to be a solo project, it took on a membership that, throughout the years, included the involvement of Markus Acher (the Notwist, Tied + Tickled Trio), Florian Zimmer, Christian Heiss, and Christoff Brandner (also of Tied + Tickled Trio). The group's first release, "The Safe Side," was a single issued on...
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Faking the Books, Lali Puna
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