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Bachelorette - My Electric Family

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Rating:  * * * *

It might be about her electric family but there's plenty of lifeblood running through these songs. On Bachelorette's third album (if you count 2005's mini-album The End Of Things) she uses more live instruments, including everything from guitar to the Royal NZ Air Force Brass Band, which lends the songs more vitality than the sole-produced, mostly computer-generated tracks of the past.

Opener Instructions For Insomniacs opens like a singer/songwriter might start their album, with gently plucked acoustic guitar and shuffling drums before it builds into a wash of swirling psychedelic sounds.

Yet Bachelorette (real name Annabel Alpers) never relinquishs her love of machines and My Electric Family is a harmonious and inspired coming together of live and electronic sounds. The bleepy pulsing ditty Long Time Gone is like an electronic artist in singer/songwriter mode; Donkey is meandering electronica country music; and on The National Grid (like an eerie and loping sonic sound installation) the machines well and truly come to life.

Then there's the brass band merging seamlessly with the bouncy and bubbly beats and squelches on Dream Sequence and best of all the spacey disco of Mindwarp.

With its blaxploitation guitar chink and cute 80s drum machine breakdown, Alpers has come up with one of the cutest and catchiest local songs of the year.

Scott Kara

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