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...in which a pair of Mancunian men go bleep. From a distance one might be tempted to think in terms of Soft Cell. Canny sheen of technophilia, dark Northern men, synths and insecurities, not to mention the title... you'd be forgiven for assuming this was another offshoot of the eighties - cough - 'futurism' revival, if you'd yet to hear it. But no; Andy Chester and Dave Luke have clearly also read the 21st century treatise on dance music too laid-back to dance to, ambient, samey harmonies and minimal melodies from cover to cover. Which is fine, because it's their occasional failure to stick to it that makes the results interesting.
'Vulnerabilia' itself comes over more reflective than paranoid - it's a litany of muted angst ("How did it ever get to feeling this way?") bathed in warm dubby bass and a scrapbook of synth offcuts. You can see rain through this record. And then in comes the vocoder: whether the voice of the eponymous computer or of some lost boy-band member imprisoned in the studio, who can say, but it tips the balance a bit more in favour of the smooth modern impersonal when it's the all-too-human quaver in the voice that has more to draw you in. Still, it's ideal hangover material; a phone off the hook, raking over last night's indiscretions soundtrack. And we always need more of these. 'Covered Up' provides more of the same with a welcome hint of diversity, mixing scattershot drums with a real live guitar and the sound of pages turning - "What did I just read?" - again the intriguing combination of aural gloss and psychological drama bears repeated listening.
On the other hand, 'Detoxification' is a superfluous instrumental depicting our vulnerable hero finally stubbing out his cigarette and cleaning the bath with hypersensitive fibre optic sponges. Possibly. Listen for the squeaks as he goes around the corners.
My Computer's debut album, also called 'Vulnerabilia', is streamed online here.