Man and Machine 

Adult.'s Quality Electro-Punk

by Michael Alan Goldberg

Adult. Fri May 9

B Complex

Doesn't it suck when you really like a band for a while, then they get popular with all the hipsters and posers, and then people actually accuse you of being a lame trend-hopper because you dig 'em? And it does no good to protest, stammering, "But but but I was into so-and-so back in '94," because you come off like a dorky music snob and nobody believes you anyway.

To their credit, Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller, the couple behind Detroit's Adult., don't whine about the similar situation in which they've found themselves. See, they started hammering out a dark, New Wave/industrial synth-pop style in the mid-'90s, collecting their previously released singles on 2001's Resuscitation. But with everyone and their coke-addled sister spending the past two years digging up those Gary Numan albums, renting Liquid Sky, and getting batteries for the ol' Casio, electroclash is the new grunge. Adult., to all the unenlightened latecomers, is the new Seven Mary Three.

However, instead of worrying about the Fischerspooners and WITs and the bizarre robot sex-meets-Sprockets groups of the world, the couple stuck to their own vision when they set out to record their sophomore disc, Anxiety Always. "It's really easy to let things that are happening affect you, whether it's for good or bad," says Kuperus, who sings and splits programming duties with her hubby. "So we totally isolated ourselves, eliminated all of those outside influences, and just tried to bring out what was inside us."

What they came up with is an album that's more exhilarating than most anything their footstep-following contemporaries have done. Between Miller's fuzzed-out basslines and analog beats, Kuperus' snotty vocals (mostly without the typical Dalek-like effects), and the duo's postpunk-minded grooves, Anxiety Always is tense, paranoid, and unsettling--still electronic, but exceptionally human.

"I'm a sensitive guy," Miller admits. "I cry easy at movies, that kinda crap. I have lots of really profound moments when I'm making music, and we wanted to write songs that reflected that kind of energy." For once, man triumphs over machine.

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