Fog and Ocean – S/T

Few things today are as utterly retarded as this whole “electroclash” nonsense. Fundamentally, “electroclash” is nothing more than cheesy synth-pop, no matter how active or violent you try to make it sound by labeling it with the word “clash.” The HBO-rated, tit-infested, junior-high mentality non-raps of Peaches and Fischerspooner’s embarrassingly pathetic and unshocking provocations have added up to a substantially insubstantial, worthless body of work that can’t even support a moment’s length of attention, much less an entire “scene.” Even the “electroclash” posers who try to make music people might actually want to listen to veer close to failure. Soviet’s half-baked 80s fetishism lacks even a tenth of the verve and intelligence brought to the form by hollAnd, yet them young Turks get inches in Newsweek and are treated like some sort of important, innovative passel of hotness. This “electroclash” claptrap is umpteen times more offensive and ridiculous than the slavish attention devoted to Brooklyn’s Gang of Four rip-off scene or those sub-par neo-garage mavens.
Fog and Ocean’s debut record illustrates “electroclash”‘s inherent inanity. No, Fog and Ocean are not in any way affiliated with any sort of codified Williamsburg hipster music scene, and they are certainly better off for it; with no such associative baggage, this record stands firmly on its own tail. The stupidity comes from the fact that there is hardly any difference between the modus operandi of Fog and Ocean and their monumentally more praised and hyped contemporaries Soviet. Play a song by each back to back on the radio and I would have a hard time picking out who’s who. Sorta lo-fi, New Order-ish electro-indie-pop isn’t anything new or novel, and Soviet and Fog and Ocean both rack up minor successes within this subset of a sub-genre. But the former’s from Brooklyn and gets all the press, while the latter’s made up of members of several unheralded bands from several non-Northeast / non-American locales and has received hardly any attention whatsoever.
But so, musically speaking, Fog and Ocean have made a fine, if unspectacular, record. Featuring members of several groups from various continents and of an assortment of label affiliations (including folks from the Cat’s Miaow, Boyracer, Huon, Architecture in Helsinki, Hydroplane, New Waver, and ex-Philadelphian Jen Turrell), Fog and Ocean’s debut reveals some serious belief in and dedication to the importance of OMD and the Human League. Like a lo-fi Organisation, or a less slick and confident I am the World Trade Center, Fog and Ocean’s modest synth-pop succeeds (roughly) without the aid of an overbearing shit-heap of hype.