- German producers Daniel Varga and Michael Kubler have spent most of their career as Rework hovering in the background behind the girls. On 2003's Fall Right Now it was French singer Laetitia, who glossed their debut album with sultry Gallic vocals in the style of Charlotte Gainsbourg. On 2007's Pleasure Is Pretty, they replaced her with Sascha Hedgehog from French punk group Les Quitriche, who intoned tales of tainted love with all the emotion of a self-service till. That hardly made them unique, of course—the last decade hasn't been short of kohl-eyed singers doing their best Miss Kittin or Ladytron impressions over Casio keyboard beats. But while Rework threw their skinny arms around the electroclash aesthetic in many respects, they also showed an affinity for more contemporary house and techno, creating something they dubbed "indie house."
Rework's third album, You Play, is ostensibly fronted by Hedgehog again, though she only makes a significant contribution to two tracks. "Perfect Gun" and "Dreaming Is Fun" see her reviving her ice maiden act, singing lines like "You're so nice / and I'm so mean." Both could be cryogenically frozen tracks from Rework's earlier records.
Elsewhere on the LP, it's Varga and Kubler's sleek and supple techno that dominates. The propulsive "Rise And Fall" and the streamlined title track further develop the style they hinted at on the recent Blackout EP for Items And Things. Hedgehog's voice, when it appears at all, typically consists of little more than the odd word or two processed and repeated throughout the track, such as the robotic incantation "trust me" on "Can You Trust Me?"
It's all taut and well-produced stuff—"Bouning Baby"'s rubbery bassline and the subtle crescendos of "Ask You" in particular use tension and release in a way that proves Rework are no dance floor amateurs. But fans might be disappointed with the lack of lyrics, and Rework also mostly dispensed with melodies and hooks, opting instead for tiny vocal snippets. All of this makes You Play feel like a club-friendly remix album. In turning the spotlight away from the face of the band, Rework have made an album that's difficult to pick out from a crowd.
01. Ask You
02. Rise and Fall
03. Flowers and Girlfriends
04. Perfect Gun
05. You Play
06. Bouncing Baby
07. Can You Trust Me
08. I Cannot Say
09. When You're Close To Someone
10. The Two Sides
11. Dreaming is Fun