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Who's Sorry Now?

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Album Review

Beginning with the ominous, almost gothy drone melody of "Lukewarm," Babyland kicks in its third release very much following its established path from previous releases, but not shirking from tweaks and changes that Dan and Smith find them necessary. The duo's musical relationship was perhaps even stronger than before, bolstered by the years of performing together, which resulted in some fascinating, gripping new songs. "A Slow News Day" has a wonderful start, with a Gary Numan-like synth line slowly speeding up over low rumbles and tones in the mix before the full percussion kicks in along with Dan's lyrically abstract but deeply felt performance. Other strong ragers include the lengthy "Form 95B" and "Cancer Beat," a cryptic AIDS meditation. However, even more than before, the inclusion of understatement throughout much of Sorry makes Babyland's power all that much more effective. A striking instance of this is "Happy Drum," where Dan sings more than screams; while the percussion is still a nice clattering mess, his singing combined with a plaintive synth performance stands out all the more — a beautiful slice of tenderness in the midst of chaos. Immediately following is the fine "He Will Not Forgive," where a stiff semi-hip-hop beat mixes with what sounds like droning accordion & gong samples and a synth melody, making for a good combination of the tense and weirdly relaxed. "The Door Northern" is perhaps the most stripped-down and gloomy track the band have yet recorded, with piano being the prominent instrument and Dan's delivery being barely above a whisper as a low-key beat loop drives the song along. As a welcome bonus, the CD includes videos for three Babyland songs, including the grand "Worst Case Scenario," along with general multimedia goodies.

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