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Isolation Loops

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Album Review

Annabel Alpers' full-length debut under the Bachelorette name is as classic an example of accomplished one-person-and-a-studio pop as one could want, effortlessly synthesizing everything from BBC Radiophonic Workshop synth experimentation and massed choral vocals to wry lyrics on the mundane details of life and love. It may sound strange to say it's a specifically New Zealand sound, but like her fellow Kiwi Chris Knox there's an immediate sense throughout Isolation Loops of how she approaches songwriting and performing as a chance to explore the possibilities of seemingly rough-and-ready creation. Songs like "A Lifetime" may initially rely on spare drum beats and home organs, for example, but the precision she applies throughout her arrangements, gentle surprises lurking at almost every step, results in remarkably individual, inspired tracks. This kind of recombination of styles flows so easily across Isolation Loops that it's a joy to hear, whether it's the halfway to Laurie Anderson vocals backing "Intergalactic Solitude" (thankfully, not a Beastie Boys cover — but that would be an intriguing idea) or the serene pace and elegant sweetness of "Complex History of a Dying Star." As for those lyrical details, they sometimes have the force of perfect focus, as when she sings on "And the Earth Knew Absence," "I've been lying on the floor/I've been listening to George Harrison." There's also something inspiring about calling a song "Doo-Wop," fully playing up the late-'50s tearjerking feeling while actually singing the titular phrase as well and still not sounding anything like a mummified re-creation of the past — not with the suddenly weightless and beautiful midsong break, something she does with skill throughout on songs like "Subatomic Pop."

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The project of Christchurch, New Zealand's Annabel Alpers, Bachelorette mixes '60s psychedelia and girl group pop with folk and lots and lots of vintage electronics. Inspired by acts spanning the Beatles and Smiths to Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk, Alpers began playing in bands in the '90s. She started in a group called Mouse before singing and playing keyboard in the trippy surf rock band Hawaii 5-0, and the electronic noise bands Space Dust and the Hiss Explosion. When Hawaii 5-0 broke up, she lived...
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Isolation Loops, Bachelorette
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