Dragonette is blessed. The laws of logic and music are useless around this band. On their second live date, they were already supporting New Order. Now, on their second album, these Canadian synth-poppers have undergone a complete reinvention.
2007s Galore was built around the guitar, whilst Fixin To Thrill instantly trumps it by moving on to a mix of processed sounds and synths. Add some new fire in the bands bellies and retro tendancies, and you are on to a winner.
Time and time again, there are unbelievable moments on this record, the band turning this into an artform over the course of the brisk 40 minutes. Synths are transformed beyond description, the vocals taken to new territory and the beats unapologetic.
The opening title track turns the screw a mere 22 seconds in, the first of many beat-drops arriving without fanfare. They mean business. Fixin To Thrill is a mean track, dropping in vocal samples and allowing some dirty synths to do the business. And the boys. They offer diamonds but theyre givin the quartz.
The tracklisting is well thought out, the strongest tracks arriving in sequence 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. Its a point and squirt approach to the order, but it works in spades.
Gone Too Far opens up with air raid siren, mixing in hillbilly picking and vocal drawling. Its audacious, and a neat trick which is repeated many times- the word incompatible doesnt exist in Dragonettes world.
Liar is a triumph on all accounts. The most marketable track, it avoids sacrificing any of their character, instead applying the build to reel you in. The first 60 seconds revolve around some cautious synths, before lifting off as the track draws to a close.
The album also draws out the sexiness of this band. Much of this difficult burden lies with Martina Sobrara, the Toronto electropop darlings singer-songwriter, but even her vocals ooze sex appeal. Case in point- Easy is driven by the flat bass kicks, allowing Sobrara space to breath Ask me how I never get with other guys/other guys with nicer rides and badass style/ooooh, easy. Hard as it looks. The refrain is a thing of beauty, with phasing synths and histronics building up.
They flirt with their styling, too. Okay Dolore is a jilted country style number with handclaps, while Youre A Disaster is mismatched, a slow acoustic number that offers a two minute diversion before returning to form. It’s the albums sole stalling point, and quite jarring in contrast to the rest of the album, but it’s musically perfect.
Fixin To Thrill is the best electropop album of 2009, and makes a good claim for a place in the overall top ten. At the center of their charm lies Martina Sobrara, whose voice and image are huge selling points, but the real wonder of this band lies in their ability to surprise us. And whilst some might say that Fixin To Thrill is unexpected, those in the know have been talking about this bands potential for years. It has been realized.
Fixin To Thrill