Fischerspooner don't like to be called a band. And they hate it whenever a journalist makes reference to the eighties. However, pretense and PR strategy aside, there is no question that Fischerspooner are an eighties band. With their full-blown stage show, including pre-recorded backing tapes, leotards, wigs and grease paint, Fischerspooner actually appear more like an Eighties MOVIE. (Liquid Sky, anyone?)
On stage, they are a collective consisting of a dance troupe, a costume designer, a makeup artist, a hairdresser, back up singers, and the like. On record, FS are reduced to the central duo of Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner, musician and front-person respectively. The group's recorded output is small, but that detail is forgivable considering how much effort the group puts into performing live. Please keep in mind that this review is meant as a critique of their debut LP, and not their elaborate live show, which I've yet to see. At least two of the nine songs on this album have already been released in some other form: 'Emerge' as a remixed single, and 'The 15th', which was included on last year's Electroclash compilation. 'Emerge' was Fischerspooner's big hit single with the lyrical credo of 'Sounds good, Looks Good, Feels Good Too.' This dance track supposedly garnered them quite a cult following among clubbers and DJs all over Europe. I'd recommend 'Emerge' for airplay if we hadn't already added the single last month. 'The 15th'is a Wire cover, and a perfectly catchy slice of new wave electronic pop music as well. I'm not familiar with it's original version, but Fischerspooner's recording is certainly well executed.
Invisible Movement is another great track. The lyrics seem to evoke a message of freedom through bondage. Whether it's of earthly bondage or of leather straps, I'm not sure. Track four is a nice, dubby instrumental called 'F**ker'. Still, the music doesn't really go anywhere, except every four bars when it's channeled through a different modern-sounding effect. This isn't meant as a complaint though, because it's exactly the dumb sort of thing I like.
'Ersatz' is a showy instrumental that switches patterns & styles almost as often as 'F**ker' switches effects. The shifting changes give the listener a Readers Digest tour of electro styles, past and present. Is the 'Ersatz' title a reference to Adult's Ersatz Audio record label? You'll have to ask Fischerspooner.
The songs on #1 are pure electro, cut sharp with digital editing and soaked in gratuitous studio effects. The production's nothing too subversive or innovative, but it's slick enough to sound fresh and modern. On a whole the music is solid, much better than your average hair band.
The lyrics...well, some of the lyrics seem to have meaning, like in 'Invisible Movement' or 'Emerge,' but the rest are like Fischerspooner's reported stage show, full of sound & fury, yet signifying nothing. At best, most of Casey Spooner's words could be considered willfully obtuse. At worst, his lyrics are the kind of thing only Germans could enjoy.
Which brings us to my least favorite song of the lot, 'Turn On.' A song whose sex/copulation/orgasm lyrics are inane, insipid and in my opinion, cringe-worthy. Yes, it's campy, but not campy enough to be funny, and not sensual enough to be Donna Summer.
Overall I like Fischerspooner's music and I like what they're about. I'll look forward to hearing from them in the future, and finding out whether they do indeed move beyond electro as has been suggested in some interviews.