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Numbers 

We're Animals

Wednesday, Nov 23 2005
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Several years back, American soil sprouted hundreds of indie groups reviving the angular, disco-punk sound of the early '80s. During their 15 seconds of fame, groups like the Rapture and the Gossip regurgitated a handful of 20-year-old dance grooves for coke-addled indie kids while in the process adding very little aesthetic innovation to the post-punk canon. Then, just like that, they all disappeared, surrendering the hipster flag to Devendra Banhart and "freak folk." However, several groups in the Bay Area remain defiant, including the trio Numbers, which just released a new disc titled We're Animals. Unfortunately, defiance isn't always the prudent move, because this is a rote collection of new wave dance-pop. The grooves are listless. The stale Gang of Four-like riffage feels as if it's played by a guitarist cruising on autopilot. And the twee, robotic vocals of drummer Indra Dunis are painfully thin and flat. "Solid Pleasure" is the sole standout track, and that's because I never thought any indie group would ever dare create a retro style based upon an innocuous fusion of early-'90s indie-pop: Stereolab, Tsunami, Slowdive, etc. I guess that must be the next big thing.

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Justin F. Farrar

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