Not to be confused with the Aussie punk band from the late 70's, early 80's by the same name, these Thought Criminals are a London, UK-based electropop band formed in 2005 with Kirlian Blue (synths, backing vocals), Rocky Goode (vocals, lyrics) and Danny Fades (bass). 'Dirty Electro' is their 5th release since 2007 counting an album and three
maxi-singles. This is a band with plenty of attitude, as evidenced by titles of previous songs such as "Cyberslut," "Date Rape Lovers," "Pappa's Got a Brand New Gun," "My Baby's a Suicide Bomber," etc. I wouldn't say that their style has changed much over the last decade, but the 'Dirty Electro' 5-track EP does find the band a bit more focused, and perhaps more serious. Being produced by veterans Tony Messenger and Rob Henry likely helped as well.
Beginning with the guaranteed club hit and title track, The Thought Criminals conjure early 80's style electropop in the vein of Soft Cell, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, New Order, Gary Numan, OMD, etc. Killer hook, and a slowed-down instrumental break make this a potent track indeed. Some might argue the slowed-down instrumental break kills the dance momentum, but I disagree; it's what make the song really stand out. While "Dirty Electro" is upfront and in your face, "Watching You" sounds a little distant, as if it was recorded down the hall. A song about the paranoia of surveillance (and London is one of the most surveilled cities on earth), nobody's gotten as much mileage out of the words "watching me, watching you" since the Thompson Twins. Still, it delivers. The somewhat spare "Depression" offers plenty of clever lyrics ("Low grade depression, look at my expression, I'm three of the nicest people that you'll ever meet...") and still kills it for the
dancefloor. The big surprise though is "Into the Lebanon," a messy instrumental track that just may be the most creative thing on the EP; a cornucopia of wiggy analog synth sounds cooked up by Mr. Blue reminiscent of the earliest Human League. Final track "Eat Me on the
Dance Floor" makes good use of Rocky's cheekiness in the vocal and lyric department, even though it's a definite B-sider. So if you like your electropop with a bit of attitude you will undoubtedly like this EP