Strasse is one of the great myths of Swedish art rock/synthesizer music. Surfacing with their debut album in the same year as the other new romantic band of note, Lustans Lakejer, they made 1981 the year of the charcoal pen and theatrical decadence. While Lustans Lakejer could only wait a paltry 14 years after the last album to make their comeback in 1999, Strasse holds the dubious record of waiting a quarter of a century between their first and second album.

All that water under the bridge cannot help but dilute an once artsy, cabaret inspired band of germanophiliac Strassenräubers like this. Although streaks of resemblance to the debut "Följa John" can be perceived, I would be hard pressed to recognize "Transylvanian Flower" as belonging to the same band if I didn't already know about it.

Electronic instruments are more prevalent, of course, the production a lot cleaner and the vocals altogether more polished. With the Swedish lyrics and the Kurt Weill esthetic scrapped, much of what used to be Strasse is no more.

On a brighter note, the new Strasse really knows how to string a tune together. "Transylvanian Flower" is spirited electronic pop in the minor key, accessible in a way that the band never used to be. "The Stranger in Your Eyes" is a dramatic 60:s movie number worth its weight in vintage champagne, and both "One of the Aliens" and "Neon Street" form a faster paced, expertly tailored soundtrack for smoke and strobes.

Gothenburg's finest can be proud of an unusually solid comeback album and start preparing for the high expectations this puts on their upcoming SAMA performance.