Local Wire

Mr Kline + The Wizards of Time

It seemed like scenesters Mr Kline + The Wizards of Time's new CD might never see the light of day. But after overcoming personnel setbacks, tape-machine failures, and synth man/co-producer Bob Hoag's hiatus to record with The Ataris, the band saw it fitting to release two CDs simultaneously -- the original These Soft Pipes, Play On. and an alternate version punning the album's near demise, aptly titled This Albums Cursed!. On both discs (which differ only in the song titles and artwork), lead Wizard Brandon Abbott and company turn out optimistic, dancey mood-pop. Abbott's vocals sound reminiscent of Robert Smith at times, and the songs have a coherence that feels like an epic concept record -- like a good Xanadu. At once fresh and sometimes purposefully supercilious, bouncy anthems like "What Mad Pursuit?" and "Looking Into Poverty" brim with XTC-type eclectica that sound like the soundtrack to a new Sofia Coppola film. If Depeche Mode's "Some Great Reward" still gives you goose bumps, Mr Kline + The Wizards of Time will certainly raise your hair in all new directions.