The Lesser Known (Carpark)

Pasatiempo - - Tempos -

There are many, many artists this year who are pay­ing homage to the 1980s by re­leas­ing synth-heavy al­bums that sound as if they could have come out in that decade. Very few of them would be so brazen as to put a song called “Rio” on their record. If you’re go­ing to give a track the same name as Du­ran Du­ran’s iconic jam, then you had bet­ter bring the goods. Ad­ven­ture (the stage name for Bal­ti­more’s Benny Boeldt) brings some goods, man­ag­ing a fairly con­vinc­ing take on the synth-pop sound, even if you’re never un­aware that it’s a Xerox of the orig­i­nal. “Feels Like Heaven” feels like the Hu­man League’s “Don’t You Want Me,” al­though that cut’s sub­lime min­i­mal­ism has been re­placed here with too much in­dus­trial clut­ter. There and through­out, Ad­ven­ture’s sen­ti­ment is sac­cha­rine and self-aware, while his pre­de­ces­sors af­fected in­no­cent and sweet. There’s tal­ent on dis­play here, but many of his songs’ un­de­ni­ably pleas­ing mo­ments come with a “but.” Even­tu­ally, the al­bum does as well, when the sun sets on the synth pop and the sec­ond half — be­gin­ning, ap­pro­pri­ately enough, with “Lights Out” — gives way to nightlife mu­sic with a darker edge. The nadir comes when the seven-minute “Elec­tric Eel” be­gins to grate, un­der­cut­ting the al­bum’s joy­ful mo­ments and caus­ing any ex­otic woman dancing on the sand to stop and scratch her head. — Robert B. Ker

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