White Noise (Astralwerks)

Alpinestars 

White Noise (Astralwerks)

White Noise, the second album by Manchester, England's Richard Woolgar and Glyn Thomas, epitomizes Astralwerks' tilt away from straight-up dance albums and adventurous electronica excursions. A company that once boasted µu-Ziq, Future Sound of London, and Boymerang now peddles anodyne hybrid bands such as Alpinestars and Band of Bees. Admittedly, times are tough for the record industry, but it's disappointing to see a once-bold label bland out like this.

White Noise is as glittery as a ski slope and as deep as a single flake. Throughout the disc's twelve tracks, the group sets frosty, sorta-sad melodies to chugging rhythms, acidic synth squelches and vocals that split the difference between Blur's Damon Albarn and Stone Roses' Ian Brown. (Placebo's Brian Molko adds tremulous glam flavor to obvious standout "Carbon Kid.") When they're not blatantly aping seminal electro-pop artists New Order and disco über-producer Giorgio Moroder with traditional pop-rock song verities that fit innocuously within middling dance beats, Alpinestars squeezes out a couple of syrupy, string-laden ballads in an attempt at Air-like poignancy. It's all rather pleasant. But why settle for rather pleasant music?

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