January 25, 2007

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Cruxshadows, Dream Cypher
Dancing Ferret Discs, 2007

The #1 Billboard dance chart spot of September was fat and happy with Beyonce/Jay-Z’s “Déjà Vu” before this indie phenom came out of not-quite-nowhere with “Sophia,” but Cruxshadows is capable of plenty more than sex-drooling kraut-goth. In fact, Sisters and Depeche and Dead Can Dance may have to scrunch over a seat in the spook-rock hall of fame after this heavily layered release, which will appeal not just to the Hot Topic patrol but their retired ’80s-kid parents as well. The ace in this deck is electro-violinist Rachel McDonnell, whose passages could make a contender out of the lowliest Metropolis Records also-ran, if her turning “Sophia”’s break into a poke at “Listen To What the Man Says” is any indication. Proving once more that Wire was tragically ahead of their time, “Windbringer” would have made it to the A side of “Bell is a Cup,” and even the comparatively phoned-in Lights of Euphoria-like “Defender” leaves an indelible, haunting impression. A Eric W. Saeger