Welcome to Republica's visionary second album, bursting with references to semi-cool consumer trash and semi-chic west London postal districts. More Max Headroom than Blade Runner, more Network 7 than JG Ballard, it's called 'Speed Ballads' but could equally have been christened 'Internet Fax Machine Credit Card Virtual Reality Personal Pager Thingies Erm Cable Television And Lots Of Other Space Age Stuff Baby'. Much snappier. When the formula works it can be great: pointedly plastic pop with the controlled rage of punk and the lascivious pulse of disco. Sadly for Republica, this requires wit, subtlety and mighty melodies, all of which are seriously lacking here.
Admittedly singer Saffron is a perfect, purpose-built pop princess or she could be if those millions of joystick tugging Internerds would stop wanking over Lara-sodding Croft for long enough to rxate on an almost-real human female. Saffron is totally NOW!, writing ten songs, all set rve minutes into the future. Songs like 'Luxury Cage' and (oh yes) 'Millennium', which suggest that our 21st century consumer paradise might not be such a groovy place after all. Punk rock or wot? Any genuinely progressive or even just mildly hummable ditties are vastly outnumbered by gratingly ordinary future-schlock stinkers which only Pepsi executives could ever consider exciting.