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Goes By
Collides
Longlights
Northern Islands
Insides
Blurred Tonight
Another Language
Elevens
Out The Door
All Around
Through The Wall
Treelines
Plenty of musicians look to the past for inspiration, but it's hard to imagine anyone who has willfully moved themselves back to the 1980s with as much determination as Mike Sniper, who also trades under the name Blank Dogs. You name the new wave synth pop gesture, and Sniper has almost certainly resurrected it somewhere on Blank Dogs' Land and Fixed, a set of moody electronic melodies from the axis where Gary Numan and Martin Hannett meet. While the tone of Land and Fixed frequently hovers somewhere between cool and dour, this music manages to work up a potent head of steam on tracks like "Northern Islands" and "Elevens," and there are genuinely catchy melodic hooks on "Out the Door" and "Goes By" that lift up the tunes even when they dip into minor keys (which isn't at all uncommon). Sniper uses his presumably large collection of vintage synthesizers and drum boxes to conjure up a world of sound that recalls a very specific time and place, but he's gifted enough that the results sound like the stylistic kin of his influences rather than some sort of plagiarism; if he'd tried to pass this off as an unreleased Factory Records product, the prank probably would have worked, not just because the details sound right, but because it still reveals a musical mind of its own, and with music as derivative as this, that's no small accomplishment. Blank Dogs is the work of an artist who has found his voice in the sound of another era, and it speaks quite eloquently on Land and Fixed; anyone who enjoys the chilly rush of classic era synth pop will be jazzed by this music, and even those who prefer "real" pop music may find they're not immune to its charms. - All Music

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