Saturday, June 9, 2012


The great Ivan Doroschuk still has that wonderfully grizzly voice, and an ability to find fun and fantastic synth lines to power his pop.  Funny how he hasn't had to change one bit to fit in today, 29 years after we all did the Safety Dance.  Witness the use of Pop Goes The World in a current TV ad for Tide, of all things.  I think it just goes to show synths got a bad name back in the day because too many people used them who didn't know what they doing.  Ivan always has, and this disc is made up of 10 seriously cool tracks, each one with a driving, fun synth sound.

It's the first Men album in a decade, and comes after a successful 2011 tour that saw the band properly acknowledged as an exciting live act.  Falling somewhere between dance and New Wave, it's true there's a lot of retro love and re-evaluation for the mid-80's these days, but for full albums, this might be the best Doroschuk's ever made.  Each cut is a concise and solid piece of pop.  It's extremely danceable of course, but smart as all get out, too.  This War, moving at top gear with some unimaginable BPM rate, would fill any dance floor, impossible to resist.  Mid-tempo charmer Your Beautiful Heart is soul-gone-synth, with a great lyric, Ivan giving support to someone searching for love.  The Girl With The Silicon Eyes has that touch of sci-fi that always goes well with electronics.

Men Without Hats has always been about finding joy and love in the face of those who want to deny it.  That goes right back to Safety Dance, inspired by club bouncers threatening his crowd when they tried to enjoy New Wave music ("Is it safe to dance?").  That's what set Doroschuk above the pack back in the day, the intelligence he brought to the table.  It's all still there, plus he's a master craftsman in the now more appreciate synth arts.

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