The Canadian band Dragonette has a sound something akin to the Faint’s, if the Faint were fronted by Joanna Newsom. The electro-dance-rock-pop territory is well-trod, and Dragonette’s capitalization on that trend is not remarkably more egregious than any other group’s; its take is saved mostly by singer Martina Sorbara’s stylings, which are endearing in their child-like quality. The band’s sophomore album, Fixin to Thrill, doesn’t try to break the mold set by its predecessor, Galore, but the songs do tend to be a bit more upbeat and dance-friendly.
The sound is nothing new: some purring rhythmic synths, some bass lines, some vocal filters, some cowbell. That’s pretty much what Dragonette has going on here. The lead/title track is a lusty call to play. Sorbara sounds cute and flirtatious as she sings, “So we could do it any way you want/ We only like you ’cause you’re cute and young/ You gotta work what Daddy gave you, son/ Come on and show me you that you know how to use it/ And do your duty.” It’s the same sort of soft feminism that countless lady popsters have used before her, although it sounds sleek and stylish and like something I want to enjoy. Unfortunately, few of the album’s tracks are distinguishable from any of the others. (Although “Pick Up The Phone” gives the synths a rest, subbing in electric guitars; it has a sentimental, yearning quality that is charming as it reveals chips typically unseen in the group’s electro verneer.)
For an album made primarily of fluff, there sure is a lot of filler, and fluffy filler amounts to bits of nothingness. “Big Sunglasses” is a ridiculous tribute to fame and its accompanying eyewear, and “Easy” is a continual string of lyrical and musical cliches. In the end, very few of the songs on the album can withstand much scrutiny. It’s a jaunty ride through electromania, but there’s not much here that’s very thrilling at all.