Go ahead and begrudge Fischerspooner its blatant ’80s mining, but if there’s one factor that justifies the overuse of undulating bass synth and ideas pioneered by The Human League, it’s the duo’s mastery of flair. Fischerspooner’s last two albums were, in turn, brazenly cocksure and impressively colorful: 2005’s Odyssey even managed to overcome the past by employing glitch alongside guitar angularity. But Fischerspooner’s principals were on top of the world then—as infamous as they wanted to be, and with a budget that supported extravagant tours, as well as songwriting bylines from Linda Perry and David Byrne. Today, the pair has public drama, no label, and most unfortunately, a middling new album.
Fischerspooner fought some long odds to release Entertainment, and it shows. The opener and lead single “The Best Revenge” is brightened up by live sax, but it sounds like yet another iteration of 2001’s “Emerge.” “We Are Electric” is plagued by the mother of all electro-pop clichés (the title says it all), and though “Money Can’t Dance” is thematically relevant, the lyrics “We’re not just donut kids with screwball attitudes all the time” sound like they were written by a German-speaking robot. “Danse En France” is even worse, considering that it calls attention to one of the world’s most progressive electronica scenes, yet seems oblivious to what that music actually sounds like. The best moments are the darker ones—“Door Train Home,” for instance—but even these sound like The Faint lite. As long as Fischerspooner exists, it will likely excel at Entertainment’s titular activity onstage, but the days of that happening on studio albums appear to be waning.