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Data: 2-Time (reissue)

The second album from the eighties electronica band Data, featuring one-time Sailor, Electron, and future Noir man, Georg Kajanus, was first released in 1983, the band both expanding and contracting from their Opera Electronica debut a year earlier. With co-vocalist Phil Boulter reduced to 'additional vocals' on just two cuts, Frankie Boulter is left to hold the vocal fort almost on her own, while Henry Marsh joins the collective to add further synthesizers to those of Kajanus, who also provides 'computer programmes' and some vocals.

If the band's debut was a trade-off of catchiness against electronica, so 2-Time again tried to marry the two not always ready bedfellows. Even with both Kajanus and Frankie combining on vocals, the reduced role of Phil proves a key difference as Data's sound evolved, the brightness of before cashed in for a more stark, serious attack that verges into austere. In many ways it makes this second outing feel much more grown up, especially when combined with less dazzling and bright synth sounds. And yet, for all the less gleeful approach was a welcome turn, it doesn't actually result in a set of songs that engage in the same way. With the musical approach often intentionally repetitive, it's all too easy to zone out as the likes of "Data Plata" ease by with barely a nod of excitement.

Too often, what with all this combining to wordy, current affairs led lyrics, there's an unwelcome air of cleverness about everything; the feel that the music is aloofly educating the listener at arms length. The jauntily haughty "Bilbao" being a prime example, as it offers up unpleasing vocal melodies and an almost nursery rhyme lilt. It's also something that proves even more frustrating when running alongside the much less 'clever', but all the more exciting, "Plastic Money", hinting at a less glitzy Gary Numan pout and pose to great effect. With "A-O Bungalow" also doing a good job of refusing to leave the memory banks through spiralling percussive slaps and lyrical stabs, there's a feel of what might have been.

As with the debut album, which is being simultaneously reissued through Angel Air, two bonus cuts have been added to the original ten, "Living Inside Of Me (Razormaid Remix 1983)" and "Romy Haag (Matt Pop Mix, 2017 remaster)" being more lengthy affairs. The former benefits from the extra room it's afforded, while the latter is almost an unwelcome modern day dance-floor thump that is instantly forgettable.

I'm sure there are a horde of Data fans who will vociferously disagree, but looking back with thirty plus years on 2-Time leaves it as an album full of great ideas that are never truly realised. To these ears it's a tough trip and one that has more interest in impressing than entertaining. Unfortunately it doesn't really do either.


Track Listing
1. Physical Asylum
2. Living Inside Me
3. A-O (No Bungalow)
4. Plastic Money
5. Data Plata
6. Bilbao
7. Musique Electronique
8. Romy Haag
9. Cool Passion
10. Silver Tongued Heroes
BONUS TRACKS
11. Living Inside Me (Razormaid Remix 1983)
12. Romy Haag (Matt Pop Mix, 2017 remaster)

Added: October 29th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: 2-Time at Angel Air
Hits: 111
Language: english

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