• Soviet
  • We Are Eyes, We Are Builders (Plastiqmusiq/Head) 2001 

Contemporaries of the electroclash movement but not truly a part of it, Soviet rank among the very best of the synth-pop revivalists. This is almost entirely due to the songwriting skill of Keith Ruggerio, a New Yorker possessing a deliriously faux-Neil Tennant English accent and the inability to pen an unmemorable tune. Ruggerio claims it was his intent to blend Kraftwerk and the Stone Roses, but We Are Eyes, We Are Builders is nothing of the sort. Even Ruggerio admits he and his band shot a little wide of that mark, but what they ended up with is plenty good anyway — it sounds like the great album that long lost bands like Our Daughter’s Wedding and Rheingold never quite got around to recording. “Commute,” “Marbleyezed,” “Lonely Days,” “Run In” and “Candy Girl” are among the finest synth-based pop songs of any era, never forsaking catchy melodies in favor of prefab sequencer patterns. Soviet have since become much in demand on the remix circuit, working with the likes of Freezepop, My Favorite and the moonlighting King of Convenience Erland Oye.

[Brad Reno]