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Troublesome Bubblegum
Emperor Norton/Rykodisc

You could lose a filling on Troublesome Bubblegum, in more ways than one. The German duo of Nicole Morier and Mia Dime that is Electrocute (although Mia has departed since this album was released and been replaced by an American, Holly Doll) raunchily sass their way through 14 quick and dirty electro-pop numbers that sound like they're being performed by a couple of jaded inflatable dolls with a whole lot of candy melting in their fists. Disaffected, Valley Girl vocals (impressive, really, since I thought they were German?) accompany candied 1980's synths with programmed drum beats and the occasional pulp fiction slice of Nicole's Fender Mustang, all brought into this century by some decidedly professional production (Mickey Petralia, who has produced the likes of Beck and Ladytron). Plenty of the lyrics are a little silly and over-the-top in their attempt to be overtly sexual, but even when the lyrics aren't the best the music is still as infectious as the diseases that people as busy as the ones in these songs would be swapping.

Several songs on the album are reminiscent of The B-52s, with similar peppy beats, squawky, Kate Pierson vocals and offbeat lyrics (e.g., "Fun Is A Floppy Bitch"). In addition to the new wave slut music of "Shag Ball," "Venus Fly Trap," "Cops Copulating," "Blow It" and "Dogs 'N' Dolls," Electrocute pays homage to the bubblegum in the album title's name with "Goodbye Johnny," which could be a synthetic re-working of "The Leader Of The Pack," complete with a faint ambulance siren in the background. Then there's just good driving music, like "Tales Of Ordinary Sadness" (my favorite on the album - I really dig her guitar) and "Two Lane Blacktop." The overall effect of Troublesome Bubblegum easily could have been lightweight, frothy and altogether disposable, but somehow the duo's cleverness, creativity and recognition of the value of an irresistible dance beat keep this sleazy cotton candy from imploding on itself.

-Heidi Lamer

Track Listing:
1. Tales Of Ordinary Sadness
2. Nobody Likes Us
3. Shag Ball
4. Fun Is A Floppy Bitch
5. Venus Fly Trap
6. Jet Set Boy
7. Cops Copulating
8. Blow It
9. Dogs 'N' Dolls
10. Two Lane Blacktop
11. Goodbye Johnny
12. Kleiner Dicker Junge
13. North 14
14. Car Bomb Derby

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