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Techno - Released July 22, 1991 | Warp Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Definitive collection of the new style electro-techno, with composition and dynamics taking equal play with groove and DJ-friendliness. Reissued by Tommy Boy in the U.S., the hip-hop connection was apparent in the few breakbeat tracks, but for the most part the record leans more toward acid house and techno for its cues. Recommended. ~ Sean Cooper

Techno - Released January 29, 1996 | Warp Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Nearly legendary as the album-that-almost-never-happened, Advance was a full five years in the making, with hardly a peep of new material in between. The result isn't as essential as their debut, but growth and maturity are evident, particularly in the focus and depth of composition. The material flows nicely, with the heavier, more body-oriented material broken up by contemplative, atmospheric ambient interludes. ~ Sean Cooper

Alternative & Indie - Released November 15, 2019 | Warp Records


Techno - Released August 10, 1999 | Arista

To give credit where it's due, the Boston trio known as LFO was responsible for much of the writing and production on their debut album. Their voices are almost as good as the Backstreet Boys, much better when they're singing choruses together than when they stretch out on solo spots. And those choruses are quite catchy on the single "Summer Girls," "Girl on TV," and several other tracks. What sinks LFO even before any of the choruses, however, is some of the worst faux-rap rhymes ever heard in the music world, aside from the Rodney Dangerfield novelty rap single and the occasional K-Mart commercial. Though "Summer Girls" has a great hook and nice combo singing, the rhymes -- flagrant offenses include "When you take a sip, you buzz like a hornet/Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets"; "Stayed all summer, then went back home/Macaulay Culkin was in Home Alone"; and "Fell deep in love but now we ain't speakin'/Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton" -- are enough to elicit a groan from everyone old enough to remember Family Ties. It's the same story on "Girl on TV" ("Shooby doo wop and Scooby Snacks/Met a fly girl and I can't relax"), and by the time listeners hit the third track, a "soulful" ballad named "Cross My Heart," LFO has lost any possible credibility with post-teen audiences. It's a bit of a shame because the group shines on light bouncy hip-pop like "Can't Have You" and "Baby Be Mine," though the latter loses points for being yet another R&B hit to sample the '80s hit "Human" by Human League. It's encouraging that a (mostly) self-produced teen pop group can make a bit of headway on the charts, but in this case, the trio could have used a bit more studio supervision. ~ Keith Farley

Techno - Released June 26, 2001 | J Records

After scoring one of the most infectious -- and some would say annoying -- hits of 1999 with "Summer Girls," LFO returns in 2001 with a more mature second album. Of course, when one considers that their first album consisted of juvenile bubblegum hip-hop, it's hard not to sound more mature. For Life Is Good, the trio wrote and produced the majority of the disc, dropping some of their hip-hop pretences and relying more on guitar-based, '80s-style pop. The style works best on their sunny single "Every Other Time," which is likely to get just as much radio airplay as "Summer Girls." Most of the time, however, the group's songwriting and production are utterly forgettable. The track "6 Minutes" is about obsessive love that sounds like a bland hybrid of Blink-182 and the Archies. Then there's "Erase Her," which is a blatant rip-off of '80s bands such as Depeche Mode and Erasure. The group hasn't abandoned their hip-hop aspirations, offering up "Aalayna," which features a cameos by hardcore rappers M.O.P. and De La Soul, and "Dandelion," which features Kelis. LFO is a cut above their fellow boy bands created by pop Svengali Lou Pearlman, but that's damning them with faint praise. In the big, bad world of contemporary rock, LFO still has a lot of growing up to do. ~ Jon Azpiri

Alternative & Indie - Released August 25, 2003 | Warp Records


Techno - Released September 22, 2003 | Warp Records

The most anticipated record of the year for fans of British techno, LFO's Sheath is another masterpiece from the pen of Mark Bell, though much of it sounds cobbled together from previous projects. While 1996's Advance foreshadowed electronica's emphasis on dirty percussion and grinding effects lines, Sheath has only a few tracks along those lines; the rest ranges from gauzy electronic pop to jarring yet brittle techno hardcore to deep subbass reminiscent of the first few LFO singles. Ethereal and richly melodic, the opener, "Blown," sounds like a valentine to Björk, whose 1997 masterpiece Homogenic was produced by Bell. While the second track (the relentlessly percussive "Mum-Man") is as harsh as the previous was gentle, most of Sheath is given over to down-tempo work, like the beautiful "Sleepy Chicken" -- though, true to form, it's followed by a stark, vocoder-led bleep nightmare, the single "Freak." Listeners might recognize the same synth patches on "Unafraid to Linger" that made Autechre's Tri Repetae one of the most otherworldly records in electronic music. No concept, few forms to mark a shift in LFO's sound; just a set of productions that prove, once again, Bell is the most imaginative producer in British techno. ~ John Bush

Techno - Released November 21, 1994 | Warp Records


Techno - Released January 20, 1992 | Warp Records


Techno - Released June 24, 1991 | Warp Records