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Couture, Couture, Couture

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Album Review

On their debut album Couture, Couture, Couture, Frausdots — Brent Rademaker's post-Tyde and Beachwood Sparks project — use synth pop and the darkly jangly side of '80s post-punk as inspiration for their languidly stylish music. Needless to say, this sound is fairly different than either Beachwood Sparks or the Tyde, but Frausdots' songwriting is nearly as engaging as those bands' was and has a similarly Californian sheen to it, proving that location, location, location has a lot to do with Couture, Couture, Couture's vibe. On songs like "Dead Wrong" — which borrows America's "Horse With No Name" and recasts it as blankly moody synth pop — and "Fashion Death Trends," the band pushes the more overtly retro side of its sound with ultraclean productions, big choruses, and keyboards aplenty. On "Broken Arrows" and "Contact," they try for, but don't quite achieve, Echo & the Bunnymen-esque depth; while all the elements are in place, they just don't add up to drama. However, Frausdots sound more natural on the less obviously new wave and post-punk inspired songs: "The Extremists"' peppy organ stabs and strutting beat makes a better backdrop for Rademaker's warm, Lloyd Cole-eqsue vocals, even if it drags on a bit longer than it should (a recurrent problem on Couture, Couture, Couture). "Tomorrow's Sky," "Current Bedding," and the lovely, mandolin-tinged "The Man Who Dreaded Sundown" also fare well because they work with Rademaker and company's inherently soft, breezy tendencies instead of against them. Though the album's title states that Frausdots keep up with fashion, their best moments tend to be the least trendy ones. Couture, Couture, Couture is an uneven album, but it does tend to wear better than some other albums by '80s-inspired bands.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The '80s pop-inspired band Frausdots features vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Brent Rademaker and vocalist/guitarist Michelle Loiselle. Rademaker was also in such bands as Further, the Tyde, and Beachwood Sparks with his brother Darren, who is also one of Frausdots' many revolving members. Other Frausdots contributors include keyboardist Carl Tapia and vocalist Mia Doi Todd, along with members of Rooney, the Warlocks, and Brian Jonestown Massacre. Roger Brogan, Exiquio Talvera,...
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Couture, Couture, Couture, Frausdots
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