Fractured Army quietly called it quits last year after a few years of in-town gigging, recording and a memorable turn as Pat Benatar for An Under Cover Weekend in 2010. (Because who doesn't love "We Belong"? Philistines, that's who.) But from that amicable split comes Hidden Lakes, featuring three-fifths of the former band and a pinch of acoustic, almost rootsy music alongside a more conventionally electronic backdrop. Two couples make up this quartet -- Kory and Holly Kunze take vocal duty, with Kory on lead vocals and manning the bulk of the instrumentation. Rod Campbell and Jessica Spitzer contribute on bass and keyboards, respectively. The music these couples make together shows a charming pop naiveté; the band doesn't always keep strict adherence to the drum machine's rhythm, but these types of songs don't demand lock-step precision and are better for the little bits of C86 roughness.
At times, the band's '80s synth-pop jones takes it to comfortably familiar places; the mid-album standout "At the Show Last Night" has both the guitar fury and the glossy keyboard strings of early New Order. The instrumental interludes that pepper this release hit a little harder and show a more modern ear for synthesis and programming ("Aspect Ratio" in particular), however fleeting the tracks may be. But few bands can go from clicky arpeggios to bare banjo-driven songs, and Hidden Lakes rides this dichotomy throughout the disc. The title track is the best mix of these seemingly disparate sources, where a spare drum-machine beat keeps time for plangent acoustic guitar strums and weepy lap steel. As a duet for the Kunzes, the song also serves as a pretty sweet declaration of love and fidelity. Marital fidelity is all well and good, but the band is sonically promiscuous, as the fuzzy, buzzy summertime anthem "Respite" suggests.
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