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Neulander Smoke + Fire

Although they're based in New York, Neulander (Korinna Knoll and Adam Peters) sounds about as German as they come. Their stark, linear electro-pop is seemingly devoid of emotion, yet chock-full of computer-crafted social despair. Digging deeper, Smoke + Fire eventually proves itself to be vibrantly human. Knoll's unsure, clipped vocals are remarkably charming in an early Annie Lennox kind of way, and the group's shirt-sleeve admiration of Human League and Pet Shop Boys ("Sex, God + Money" is a doppelganger of "Opportunities [Let's Make Lots of Money]") pushes them beyond the toss-away faddishness of Berliniamsburg and related electro revival opportunists. Smoke + Fire is sing-along good.

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