I'm trying to figure out if I even want to review the new album from Anton Barbeau or not. See, I typically only review things I'm at least moderately enthusiastic about. And I can't really say that I liked Antronica 2, out tomorrow on the otherwise-fine Gare Du Nord label, even as I did sort of admire Anton's odd skill at making almost bad-on-purpose Eighties-style electro-pop.
A number like "Go! (1987)" sounds precisely like the kind of stuff that those no-name bands on the soundtracks of buddy cop movies used to peddle, while the more enjoyable "This Is My Song" at least presents a faint simulacrum of the sort of thing Howard Jones and his ilk foisted upon us back in 1985 or so. The more subtle soundscapes of the lush "Dolphins On Drugs" almost make up for the annoying chirpyness of stuff like "Ski Racer", a truly unnecessary piece of work. Elsewhere, "Rain Rain" sounds a tiny bit like non-hits from The Cars, while "Milk Churn In The Morning" ruins a nice hook with some ludicrous lyrics.
Anton Barbeau is a fine musician, and one whose earlier work appealed to me, but Antronica 2 is one joke repeated for nearly an hour. And it remains a joke that was never funny in the first place. I just don't understand why someone would use their talents to make something intentionally awful in so many places? This reminds me of the tunes in that Drew Barrymore/Hugh Grant movie where the Brit played a guy who had been in a big synth-pop band, only the songs here are not as good, nor as purposefully funny. Antronica 2 offers a note-perfect recreation of the very worse dregs of the end of the New Wave boom. Fans of Reagan-era Christian Rock, or compilation fillers might like this but I really didn't, even barely tolerating it on a purely intellectual level.
Antronica 2 by Anton Barbeau is out tomorrow.
[Photo: Uncredited promo image from label]