Conventional wisdom holds that once a sitcom adds a new member to the lineup, shit's about to go downhill with quickness. We all remember how unfunny the Huxtables got once Raven Symone joined the fray. And we won't even get into the Malcolm in the Middle/baby Jamie debacle.... Unfortunately, the same principle of overcrowding begetting suckitude extends into the world of electroclash, if the steady decline of Adult. is any indication.
When the Detroit duo released Resuscitation in 2001, the black turtleneck demographic finally had a "Bombs Over Baghdad" to call their own. Riffing on '80s synthesizer-based technopop, Adult. took cues from Green on Red, Wall of Voodoo, and New Order, filtered them through a month's worth of Red Bull and Mini Thins, and turned out ridiculously fun and fast tunes of hyper detachment. Their full-length follow-up, Anxiety Always, showed the band moving in punkier directions, adding Le Tigre-like anthemic chouses about gluing your eyelids together and saying hello with a kick in the shins. Above the layered throwback beats, Nicola Kuperus' odd vocals held the songs together.
Fans could be forgiven, then, for wondering what the hell happened on the recent D.U.M.E. EP and the brand-new Gimmie Trouble, both of which, well, kinda suck. The obvious answer is the Raven Symone theory, pegging new multi-instrumentalist Samuel Consiglio for the disappointing releases. But there has to be more to it than that—how do you go from super fun to super lame that quickly? For one, the trio has decided to place Kuperus' vocals at the center of the music, rather than using her voice as another instrument at their disposal. Secondly, sensing that the electroclash pan-flash was fizzling out, Adult. has deemphasized their techno-funkiness, and now releases music that you couldn't dance to if you wanted.
Which is a shame, since just three years ago, two liters of Mountain Dew and an Adult. CD instantly equaled the best dance party around.