Pep*Squad

If This Was a Test, You'd Fail
Self-released

At least this band delivers on the promise of its name. From the opening track, "Battle of the Rabbits," you feel as though you've time-warped back to a fictional past when the club Tech Noir wished it could play music this frenetic. If Mr. Pacman fronted the Nails and ditched the horns, you'd get something like this: Fuzzy, relentless bass to match the strong if spare drumming and urgent yet equally minimal synth work behind barely clipped vocals make everything sound slightly tongue-in-cheek. Revisiting early-'80s new wave has rarely been this lively and curiously devoid of kitsch since the Faint put out Danse Macabre. If anything, Pep*Squad sounds as though it's trying to awaken the latent dance moves in its audience through sheer enthusiasm.

 
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