Review: De/Vision – Popgefahr

De/Vision’s greatest problem, especially as a particularly prolific band, is they release a lot of material that becomes electronic wallpaper, quickly forgotten. In their defense they are also capable of penning brilliant, catchy electronic pop songs that penetrate your psyche and stay there. We’re very pleased to report that their latest, Popgfahr, qualifies as the latter. This album is a big step up from their last album, Noob (which was, in its own right, a solid album). Where Noob features a couple of great, memorable songs (“Flavour of the Week” and “What it Feels Like”), their latest has a whole basketful of them.

This album is the most purely electronic album De/Vision have recorded in many, many years and they wear it well. Very well, in fact. The vocals seem a little crisper, the percussion pops and sizzles and the main melody lines are, overall, really beautiful and cold.

The band really seem to have found a good rhythm after all these years together. While this album occasionally feels a little derivative it’s only in the best, most respectful way. Lead single “Rage” feels like it could have been recorded by Depeche Mode at their creative peak; “What’s Love All About” creeps along at a sexy, languid pace; “Time to be Alive” sounds like a slightly darker Pet Shop Boys at their best; “Plastic Heart” may be lyrically limited but finds De/Vision musically fresh, alive and fun.

Taken as a whole one realizes that the greatest accomplishment of Popgefahr is that they’ve reminded us how fun electronic music can be, without being overly simple, stupid or chartwhorish. Moreover, they’ve reminded us of how good, how clean electronic pop music can sound. This is as it should sound. One is transported back to the Depeche Mode of 1990, to Erasure of the late 80s, or the even the Human League of the early 80s. There is no pretension here, no posing, no overly affected lyrics or vocal deliveries, just damn fine electropop as well crafted as we’ve heard in a very long time.

Popgefahr arrives as the most refreshing new release of 2010 and shows us how clever how creative and how enduring De/Vision are capable of being and we’re all the better for it.

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