I Am the World Trade Center: The Tight Connection (Kindercore)

They have a sound that is pure ’70s electronica mated with an on-the-verge-of-Disco Blondie.

have been writing this review for about six months now. I started it when we received a CD from a band called Soviet. I did not like it. My reasoning was that it was a cheap ripoff of Depeche Mode. It was Speak and Spell all over again. They borrowed effects and texture that Depeche Mode had ditched by the second or third album. What Soviet ended up being was a cover band without the originals. This last year has seen the onslaught of bands that remind us of our gentle youth…well, at least my pre-Reagan years. Some have been excellent: Hot Hot Heat, Interpol, and Radio 4 all make my list. Playing one of these bands’ CDs is like having the opportunity to hear a great band again for the first time. Not necessarily recreating a band, Beatlemania-like, but taking the components and creating something new. An album as good as Interpol’s Turn On the Bright Lights lives in a world someplace between Joy Division and New Order, but it sounds perfectly modern none the less.

It would be easy to lump I Am The World Trade Center into that heap. Dan Geller and Amy Dykes have a sound that is pure ’70s electronica mated with an on-the-verge-of-Disco Blondie. Geller creates the synth-poppy backgrounds with a laptop computer. The effect is oddly dynamic considering the technology behind the music appears not to have moved much beyond that which Wendy/Walter Carlos swung in the ’70s. Geller has assured us that he has gotten a new laptop since their debut CD, Out of the Loop, but the overall effect is still very cold and machine-driven. But on The Tight Connection, he shows us that that is not such a bad thing. Good music, after all, is just the right arrangement of notes, and Geller masterfully moves the bytes around in such a way that they are quite pleasing. It’s not the technology, but how you wrangle it that saves the background from being as cheesy as one of those Christmas ornaments mangling “Silent Night.”

Dykes’ voice is not quite as strong as Debbie Harry’s, though you will notice the resemblance from the start. Dykes more than makes up for it by investing quite a bit of personality in her performance. She reminds me more of a blissed-out Nancy Sinatra. After a few plays I felt guilty for thinking of Debbie Harry, the ’70s, and especially Ronald Reagan. I Am The World Trade Center inhabits their own time and place and, as long as the memory on Geller’s computer holds out, will continue to grow into their own unique sound.

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