Al RitchieWhat is it about boys with synthesizers and broken hearts? Ever since the mid-80's darkening of Depeche Mode, the two have gone toegther like feta and Beaujolias.
Enter Eric Oehler's Null Device, who, over the last few years, have solidified their rep as a band-to-know for those in the mood to brood. The Madison crew's sophomore effort – a somber (perhaps indulgently so) 12-song rumination on the bitterness of romance spoilt – proves an audacious leap forward in the breadth and quality of the groups productions.
Oehler's way with a pop groove is best displayed on the wistful “Walk in London” – which, I'm confident, would have been a college-radio hit back in technopop's late-80's heyday – and “Easier”, which bumps and grinds with an “I Want Your Sex”-style funk. But the band's most significant development derives from Oehler's growing fasciantion with Turkish and Middle Eastern music, themes and sound which permeate this album, imparting a gothic mysticism into otherwise machine-driven scores and positing Null Device as a band too agile and far-reaching for the restrictive boundaries of the “synthpop” label.