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Rework - Fall Right Now

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Artist: Rework

Album: Fall Right Now

Label: Playhouse

Review date: Mar. 10, 2003

Earth Girls Are Easy

Unless you’ve had time to manufacture a memory while listening to Fall Right Now, it probably won’t remind you of anything in your own life. Unless, that is, you belong to the class of advanced dancers and seldom embarrassed for whom the album was created. The remaining demographic should arrange to hear it in the most elegant apartment that permits them entry. It’s a privilege.

A march of breathy robotics, Fall Right Now is the project of Rework, a recently formed Franco-Hungarian foursome. It is difficult to describe their sound – their sound which is not expressly theirs for all it cops - without sounding like an excitable European teen. Sexy and Cool are unstable modifiers, too often spoken at their innocent speaker’s expense. But to omit these words– and their funny trans-atlantic usage – from this appraisal is impossible. It’s a work of high decorative art, fit for its moment, but perhaps more fit for an overzealous revival in fifteen years. Nevertheless, what Fall Right Now lacks in sincerity, it more than makes up for in Sexy and Cool.

Coolness is what prevents the album from offering a complete solution to the singular and dire listener. Somewhere in its adept composition is the formula for loneliness and withdrawal. The vocals are at once throaty and androidenal, riding a pulmonary beat. It is a gallantly autistic sound – stuttering so expertly (often in French) as to infect the memory of its listener – somewhere between a bully and a tease. Despite its handsomeness, it all comes out as a cruel imitation of human expression. It can be, in an uncontrolled environment, awfully depressing.

Awfully depressing has its rewards. I love the artist who, stooping implausibly to meet me in my dreams, naturally respects, understands, and loves me too. I lust after the artist who, stooping implausibly to meet me in my dreams, finds me common. While it is unquestionable that Rework belongs to the second class of artists, there are perversely misleading gestures throughout.

So pretty is the third track, “October Love Song” (a cover version of a Chris and Cosey song), the listener feels compelled to introduce it to their most stubborn elderly friend. The album is worth owning for this song alone. Next track is a smart follow-up, a sinister road song, reminiscent of, but cooler and moodier than, the Yo La Tengo cover of “Little Honda.” The reproachful sixth, “Loin de Moi” caves into it’s opposite, a pleading confessional. Here, the dire listener asks why the change of heart; the mob didn’t know it was being spurned to begin with. Both parties are, nonetheless, moved.

If only for the known effects of Ecstasy, the sensitivity of the listener should be a primary consideration to musicians like Rework. May they not overlook the unattractively paranoid and introspective. May their music flatter the homeliest scenario. While I suspect it has special significance to the committee behind its coinage, Intelligent Dance Music is an ambiguous category, if a category at all. If it means what it says – and its component words mean what I think they mean - then Fall Right Now makes the fringe: a heady intoxicant for singular and plural listeners alike.

No one in the margin of our centuries will ever truly love the sexy robotic French stuff, as it brings us closer to our nightmare that we will one day meet a robot with a warm forehead. I forgive Fall Right Now her hypocrisy. I forgive her the guy in the Diesel sweater and blow-dried hair who’s probably her boyfriend. I forgive her for sounding a little too much like Stereolab. And I will, despite my present affection, probably forget her.

By Hillary Mintz

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