A Bare Exposing
Fischerspooner was one of the early pioneers in New York City’s electroclash movement. The duo is made up of multi-instrumentalist Warren Fischer and singer Casey Spooner. Their album #1 was self-released in 2000 and gained them considerable exposure, so they were subsequently re-signed and re-released the LP. Their latest work SIR is their first album since 2009s Entertainment.
This album is produced by Michael Stipe from R.E.M and features additional co-production by BOOTS who has worked with Beyoncé and FKA Twigs. The sonic world SIR lives in is electronically dark and ambient. It has hints of ‘80s industrial music and is very reminiscent of a Depeche Mode record. The grooves are plodding and visceral. Fischerspooner sticks to retro-sounding beats and their attempts to incorporate new ideas from the modern world of EDM come off slightly amateurish. Spooner’s vocals are haunting as he relates stories of love and lust, very confessional and exposing.
Without a doubt, this is a highly erotically charged album as much of the lyrical focus is on Spooner’s, or perhaps some character’s, sexual pursuits. Songs take on a mix of spoken word delivery, darkly-tinged melodies and looped vocals as part of an electro groove. The lyrics lack a certain depth as Spooner is compelled to throw around simple phrases as the main message of the songs like “tonight is tonight,” and “everything is just alright.” It doesn’t seem like there’s much under the surface there.
“TopBrazil” sets the stage with a heavy saw of a synth that cuts through the mix on the song’s energetic drops. Spooner gets honest singing, “I’m not opposed to humiliation.” The track sleazily bounces along with some tribal-inspired percussive elements. On “Togetherness,” which features Caroline Polachek from Chairlift, Fischerspooner switches up the formula with an entrancing groove. The sleek track is punctuated by Polacheck’s vocals, in a slightly distorted style of autotune. With its glitchy feel, “Togetherness” shows the most experimentation on the whole album.
Spooner gets vulnerable and almost woeful on “I Need Love” where the most influence in production from BOOTS is heard. Over an intricate drumbeat, Spooner’s vocals get twisted through different pitches and electronic bleeps. “I don’t know if I have a fight in me anymore,” he sings abjectly. The chorus brings in a more anthemic tone to the song with Spooner calling out, “I can’t find me/I need love.” “Oh Rio” closes out the album with a bit of storytelling. It follows an aging man looking for young love on the streets of Brazil but feeling “paralyzed in desire.” The verses are spoken like a reading from a book while the choruses are taken by the featured singer, Holly Miranda.
Fischerspooner, in a return to the spotlight, takes their tried and true methods to some new emotional depths. SIR covers the eroticism the duo is known for all while serving up tracks with their moody electroclash sound.