U.S.E.: Loveworld

B+

U.S.E.

Album: Loveworld
Label: Mannheim

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The glut of third-rate electro-rock throughout this decade has made even fans of the stuff flinch, but the ecstatic Seattle septet U.S.E. has been at it longer, and does it better, than most. Live, it’s all explosive joy, and its self-titled 2004 debut remains a loveable combination of layered harmonies, vocoder chants, nonstop dance grooves, and ’70s arena-guitar riffs. Loveworld mines the same seam, though a bit less consistently, effortlessly veering from squelching bubblegum disco-funk (“Dance With Me,” with its irresistible coda: “Friday night, meet me on the dance floor / Saturday night…”) to stop-start electro-rock (“Party People” is the group’s most Daft Punk-like moment yet) to splashy, driving carnival rock. “All The World” is probably U.S.E.’s defining statement: “The whole human race are brothers and sisters,” keyboardist Noah Star Weaver sings through heavy vocal effects. Still, the group’s relentlessly positive vibe can be a little too unremitting: “Beat Of My Heart” resembles the big climax from a fourth-grade pageant, and not in a good way. But even slower ones like “What We Fightin’ 4?” keep the party going.

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