Lindstrøm & Christabelle Should Have Been Better Than This 

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Lindstrøm & Christabelle
Real Life Is No Cool
(Smalltown Supersound)

The serious electronic musician who hones his obtuse craft into pop nuggets for a wider audience is a cliché at this point, but one that seemingly inverts when applied to Norwegian producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm. His epic "space-disco" masterwork, 2008's Where You Go I Go Too was the rare instrumental dance album that muscled into the best-of-the-decade scrum, despite consisting of only three extra-long, subtly percolating tracks. Since undiluted Lindstrøm went over so well, the shorter portions and easier entry point of Real Life Is No Cool, a full album of disco-pop with vocalist Christabelle, seemed like a smash-in-waiting. In practice it's puzzlingly inessential. Included singles by the duo (when she called herself Solale) justify the impulse to expand. "Music in My Mind" and "Let's Practice" sport serious grooves. Over them, Christabelle's aloof delivery inches toward the golden Moroder update of the Italians Do It Better label. Elsewhere, the singer is undisciplined and distractingly talky, like an instrumental record's version of a DVD commentary track. The music is tight; the scarcity of decadent hooks is unforgivable.

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