Music Reviews

Artist: Spray (@)
Title: Children of a Laser God - An Introduction to Spray, Vol. 2
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Banoffeesound (@)
Rated: *****
I don't know what's the most popular synthpop band in the U.K., but it out to be Spray. If you haven't heard, or at least heard of Spray by now, shame on you. For the record, Spray is a Brit synthpop band consisting of bro-sis duo Ricardo Autobahn (synths, programming, production) and Jenny McLaren (vocals), active since 2001. Previously I reviewed the reissue of 'Living in Neon' (2002 debut album) expanded and subtitled 'An Introduction to Spray, Volume 1'. 'Children of a Laser God' was their 2007 sophomore effort and that album is delivered complete and intact (all 18 tracks of it) on CD1. CD2 contains bonus tracks, previously unreleased material, remixes, and a covers of Alice Cooper and Glen Campbell songs. I'm sure there must have been plenty of reviews of 'COALG' when it first came out so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail over that. Suffice to say Spray is clever as ever with plenty of tongue in cheek pop sensibility, dancefloor enthusiasm, and stellar production. While nothing on the album rivals "I Am Gothic" from 'Living in Neon,' the overall quality of the material makes it a very enjoyable listen. For me, the best tracks are "He Came With The Frame," "Anthem [For the Modern Artist]," "Pretend Girlfriend," "I'm Begining To Think That People Don't Like Me," "Run With Us," and "We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About." The rest is really good too, with so much hit potential it's almost like they were trying too hard.

CD 2 though makes owning this expanded edition worthwhile. Title track "Children of a Laser God" wasn't on the original and mostly consists of some alien vocal sample - "You wish to eat you wish to drink you wish to reproduce.". There's a clubby remix of "Run With Us" by Michael Trenfield. "Change" is a previously unreleased track that's a little dark in tone. Next up is the cover of Alice Cooper's "Poison," a great song that probably hasn't been covered enough. It's a little low-key compared to Tarja Turunen's version, but I still like it. There are remixes of "Queen of Summer," "Love's Been Particularly Cruel To Me," "Pretend Girlfriend," and "Anthem" all geared to pump up the danceability, although the "Anthem" might be a little too hyper for most, but it's still fun. The second remix of "Run With Us" (Goodnite Electrolite) is less dancey and more electro-strange. "Cheesebox" is a previously unreleased demo that reminds me of a raved-up version of Gershon Kingsley's "Popcorn" synth instrumental from 1969. "Idiosynchronicity" is another previously unreleased track that's a decent, if minor tune. "Drowsy" is just a silly sample-laden club track. "Cosmic Kylie" makes a little fun of Ms. Minogue. "I Hate Everyone [But You]" is another previously unreleased track come to light of day and it's a good one. 'The Jinx" is a bit of fun funk wrapped in rap, and really ought to be a hit in a just world, which unfortunately this isn't. Spray also presents a brand new version of the Glen Campbell song, "The Highwayman" that's been covered by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson and was a big hit for all of them, except for Glen. It's unlikely to be a big hit for Spray but still a nice version, change of pace. The album concludes with another previously unreleased track, "Sex and Chocolate," a nice, but not particularly remarkable track. While CD2 doesn't have the impact of CD1, there is enough ear candy on it to make the total package worthwhile.

At the risk of repeating myself, this is another incredible "bang for the buck" so I highly recommend you get yourself a copy. While Spray doesn't seem to be getting the notoriety I believe they deserve, perhaps this reissue will give them a boost. Still, one of the best modern synthpop bands in the world.

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