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Album: Dogs Die in Hot Cars

Please Describe Yourself, V2

And while we're considering old new-wave pastiches, the question must be asked: is there room enough in the world for a second XTC, when there doesn't appear to have been enough to keep the original one fully operational over the last decade? Because Dogs Die In Hot Cars are to XTC what Gene were to The Smiths: a copy so closely modelled on the original that it should send shivers down the spines of Swindon's finest. It's really quite creepy, something like the musical equivalent of stalking: lots of nimble rhythm guitars and tricksy keyboard fills and lyrics which hint at deep themes, but which turn out to have hidden shallows. The farthest DDIHC stray from this template is when they adopt a brittle Talking Heads manner on tracks such as "Apples & Oranges" and "Pastimes & Lifestyles", which is hardly worth the bother at all, really. There's lots of name-dropping in songs such as "Paul Newman's Eyes" and "Celebrity Sanctum" - basically a list of film starlets the singer fancies - while further student approval is guaranteed by "Lounger", a song about an overeducated, lazy bohemian: "I get up when I want/ Don't have to eat my greens/ Or keep my bedroom tidy." An oddly hollow experience.