So, all the bases covered, all the boxes ticked then for a potential Album of the Year? Well, not quite. The album is good overall, even excellent in parts. The vocals are as icy cool as ever and the sounds are still very electronic, if with a much more polished sheen to them (of course down to the production, which is of the highest order throughout). Obviously the three singles ”Drive”, ”Lights Go Out” and "Zerox Machine" are amazing – the first being a jet-propelled electropop beast – complete with anthemic singalong chorus (altogether everyone – ”I’m alive! I’m alive!”); the second is a grizzly, pounding synthetic beast and "Zerox Machine" is simply brilliant. Unfortunately these tracks' brilliance makes the rest shine not quite so brightly.
The title track and opener ”Heartland” actually turns out to be the weakest one on the album, the rest of the tracks (bar the previously mentioned) pushing all the right buttons without actually achieving full throttle. The most noteworthy of the rest is ”Where’s the Rock and Roll Gone”, which does attempt to pump its way into your consciousness (and yes, the vaguely familiar voice on chorus duties is Tim Burgess of The Charlatans fame).
All in all, this is destined to be a big album on the strength of the singles alone, though a couple of other tracks make it worth a more concerted listen – not a classic album, but solid and satisfying.
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