June 29, 2004

I Am the World Trade Center "The Cover Up"

First of all, if you haven't heard of this group, I bet there's one question that's on your mind. I think I know what it is, so I'll answer it right away: Yes, they came up with their name and actually had released their first album before 9/11.

I Am the World Trade Center is an electronic pop duo composed of Dan Geller, one of the co-founders of Kindercore Records (one of the biggest names in indie pop before it got run into the ground last year), and his girlfriend, Amy Dykes. If you hear their music, you'll find that it's apparent that they love the '80s. Amy handles most of the vocals, but you'll hear Dan chime in on vocoder once in a while. And they've recorded covers of "Metro" by Berlin, "Shoot You Down" by the Stone Roses, "Call Me" by Blondie, and on this new album, "Going Underground" by the Jam. When I saw them a couple of months ago, they did a cover of "Bizarre Love Triangle". As I've said before, '80s-influenced electronic pop bands work because they take the good elements from the '80s and leave out the cheesy. Perhaps no one does this better than I Am the World Trade Center.

So, how is this new third full-length of theirs, The Cover Up? It's great! It's just as good, if not better, than their first album, Out of the Loop, and definitely beats their second album, The Tight Connection. Yes, I did like The Tight Connection, but somehow it didn't seem as upbeat as its predecessor, and had a little less energy to it. Fans will be happy to know that there's no lack of energy on this album, and every song is an uptempo dance number filled with pounding beats and catchy synth hooks lifted from albums that New Order never made and even a few '90s rave singles. There's even some electric guitar on a couple of songs, and not just on that aforementioned Jam cover. Every track is a potential dance hit, or would be if bands like I Am the World Trade Center could have actual hits.

If anyone unfamiliar with the band is still reading this, I bet you're wondering what kind of lyrics a band with a name like I Am the World Trade Center might write. It's nothing overtly political, if that's what you were looking for. They write seemingly light pop songs, many about love and heartbreak. And they touch upon heartbreak more than they have in the past, perhaps because this album was written and recorded when Dan and Amy had (temporarily) broken up. The album is named after what might be the most heartwrenching song on the album, especially when it hits the climax: "I want you to say 'I'm sorry.' I want you to fall apart." Despite the serious lyrics, the music is all fun and dance floor-ready.

So, if you want to have an instant dance party, but retain all trappings of indieness, I highly recommend The Cover Up.

--Eric Wolf

Artist Website: http://www.iamluxe.com/worldtrade/
Label Website: http://www.gammonrecords.com/

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