May 28, 2009

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IAMX, Kingdom of Welcome Addiction
Metropolis Records, May 19

From the Metropolis imprint you expect a lot of Depeche Mode and Trent Reznor cookie-cutting, a point of fact which, as it turns out, is the only strike, depending on your snobbery, against this album. IAMX bandleader Chris Corner (ex-Sneaker Pimps) affects a geometrically perfect fusion between the two influences cited above in roll-out track “Nature of Inviting,” tortured angst washing over the bullhorn-shouted, Reznor-freaky lyrics raged/whined over its rubber-band honky-funk/hard-rock underpinnings.

What happens next, though, on the title track and for the duration of the album, is bombastic, uncompromising, instantly ear-gluey melodramatic balladry suggesting a Paisley Underground/dream-pop/70s-rock chimera, sharing genes with Scissor Sisters, modern pop-radio and the soft parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody” (all this along with a constant stream of Depeche, keep in mind). Further setting the bar far out of your average goth-wannabe’s reach is Corner’s duet with Imogen Heap on the dreamy, mist-shrouded “My Secret Friend,” possessed of just enough buzz-killing electro cheese to make it relevant — no, imperative — to our era; this tune alone would have given Siouxsie’s management night sweats. AEric W. Saeger