“Bodyparts” – Dragonette

4 stars (out of 5)

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Product DetailsThis is only Dragonette’s third album but they’ve been around for some time now.  Their debut “Galore” was released in 2007 and the excellent follow-up “Fixin’ to Thrill” was released 3 years ago. This Canadian band have to yet to find mainstream success (other than their collaboration with Martin Solveig on last year’s ubiquitous dance floor hit “Hello”) with their wonky, imaginative pop but are respected and have become somewhat of an influence for the current generation of electro pop ladies (Nicole Roberts, Little Boots) and even Madonna whose recent “Turn On The Radio” is a poor cousin to “Hello”.

Not that much has changed between albums for the band other than “Body Parts” is completely 100% electronic (no children’s choirs, trumpets or banjos this time around) and maybe some of the specialness that Dragonette most definitely possess has been flattened out in the process. “Run, Run, Run” is a successful attempt at a minor key, stadium anthem and opens the album with an elegant confidence. “Live In This City” is as typical Dragonette as you can get and “Let It Go” resembles but doesn’t match the huge aforementioned “Hello”. So the first half of this album is solid, but sadly no longer sets Dragonette apart from what could now be considered their peers. Things do become more interesting in the second half however;  fittingly frantic “My Legs” is the boisterous tale of Martina Sorbara’s  disobedient lallies (‘I try to wash my face but my legs say put on make-up!’) and is completely brilliant, “Right Woman” has just the right pinch of sleaze and persuasion and “Giddy Up” hysterically goes a bit too far. These tracks all posses those grains of magic that were first in evidence in early tracks such as “Black Limousine” and “Take It like A Man”. Closing synth ballad “Ghost” is certainly nice and the glam stomp of “My Work Is Done” does pack a wallop but in a pretty derivative way.

“Body Parts” may be the result of Dragonette wanting to make an album that has more of an overall, cohesive structure and sound compared to their previous album “Fixin’ To Thrill” where almost every song had its own personality and was part of its own musical world but as a whole hung also together beautifully.  By doing this we end up with an album that admittedly has no lows but also deprives itself from any of the massive highs. Interestingly the fifth track here, the appropriately named “Lay Low”, which fails to assert itself within the oddly sequenced track listing, is one of the best songs they’ve ever written (Dragonette write and sometimes produce their own material, increasingly unusual in the modern pop genre); a mid tempo, wistful and multi-textured track with its clever ‘twist me in your tornado’ hook which seductively sinks its claws in; it’s a song that I almost overlooked. I’m hoping, then, that maybe this album will prove that it’s more of a slow burner than its predecessors and with patience could prove to have more longevity than their more instantly gratifying earlier material. Let’s hope so because I still love having them around.