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This is yet another pop-musical genre. Its beginning, at least in terms of journalistic attention and appearances of the name in newsprint, was at the Electroclash festival held in New York in October 2001. The genre has since become big in Montreal and has also spread to Europe. It’s a retro style, a romantic reaction against impersonal house music in clubs, with emphasis on synthesisers, theatrical performance, personalities, and song and dance, plus some rock and punk influences, all mixed in with an interest in fashion and art. The best-known bands are probably ARE Weapons and Fischerspooner. Some people think it’s the future; others consider it to be no more than a tarted-up rehash of old ideas. They could, of course, all be right. Or it might have vanished again within months.

Listening to electroclash, at times, is like burrowing into a wormhole that exits somewhere near 1985. The music is replete with the gorgeous, tuneful synths that characterized acts like Flock of Seagulls. Indeed, while listening to the Soviet tune “Candy Girl” on the Electroclash compilation CD, you’d swear you’d happened upon some undiscovered old ’80s track.

The Toronto Star, Feb. 2002

The scene label “Electroclash” is vulgar and ridiculous (mere “Electro” isn’t enough for alternative types, they need to validate it with a suffix which imbues it with a violence and rebel chic it doesn’t merit), but its reluctant leaders, New York’s Fischerspooner, have turned vulgarity and ridiculousness into art forms.

Independent on Sunday, Apr. 2002

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 1 Jun. 2002

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Last modified: 1 June 2002.