Yello – The Eye

Initially dazzling, largely frustrating 11th from moustachioed Swiss electro duo

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It’s an auspicious beginning: the stuttering digital exotica of “Planet Dada” is the most thrilling few minutes of tech-noir since Orbital’s “The Box”, “Trans-Europe Express” remixed by Martin Denny. Elsewhere, as with the recent Kraftwerk album, there’s a feeling the passage of time finds former innovators treading water. There are some great titles, of course (“Don Turbulento”; “Bougainville”; “Soul On Ice”, in particular, cries out for the peacock strut/purple yearning of Billy Mackenzie). In comparison with what passes for mainstream contemporary dance music, this is both wittier and sexier. But by Yello’s own standards, most of The Eye is either simply too familiar or crushingly limp. Several tracks rehash Dieter Meier’s growling vocal riff from their biggest hit, “The Race”, and the once radical fusion of machine music with more fluid, ethnic forms (bossa nova, largely) now sounds cute but pat. Worse, the occasional appearance of a bloodless, not-quite-soul female vocal makes the need for a more characterful collaborator even more obvious. If you’re new to Yello, start with “The New Mix In One Go”.

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