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The Halloween-y synth tone that joins the verses on Icky Blossoms' 'Silver Tongue' remind me of Does It Offend You, Yeah? - a band that were impossibly in touch with how great their candy-coated, tongue in cheek and silly electronic pop was on 2008's You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into. I wish Icky Blossoms were similarly cognizant of their smattering of sounds, which occupy the entire frequency chart at nearly every moment on Mask. "The mind is a vicious place" Derek Pressnall admits on 'Terror Nothing'. That's true if the wealth of ideas on how to make a pop record all make it onto the end product. You can jump genres, vocalists, and instruments all you want, but a listener needs something consistent to latch onto.

From the start, Mask could be the soundtrack to your '80s-themed workout. 'In Folds' sounds like a great beginning save for the fact that nearly nothing changes in the melody or pulse in between the 15 second and 3 minute mark. However, all hopefulness is lost on the following 'Phantasmagoria', where any indication of electronic thrift (e.g. the muddy bass tones on the verses) are swallowed by cliché: "Bang bang bang in my head so loud/Keep shaking but I can't get it out," each "bang" attempting something edgy. I'm so frustrated by the dubious rhymes that I can't figure out what exactly "it" is Pressnall is trying to rid himself of. The chorus lines are cannibalised by waves of multiple leads and warring melodies that create a sonic blah of sounds I could hear at any community YMCA.

Overstuffing aside, it is nice to hear the interplay between male and female singing. This blend of clubby pop Icky Blossoms deal in contains strong sexual overtones. On 'Away From You', we're encouraged to "get together/there's no afterlife." I like this idea, but it's a wild goose chase searching for a paired theme of godlessness elsewhere in the tracklist. Single 'Living in Fiction', however, has just few enough elements to keep my head bobbing. When the harsh leads cut out to let Sarah Bohling speak on the verses, it's one of the only moments where I don't feel overwhelmed; particularly when the drums drop out just before the title of the song is triumphantly revealed. It's easily the best track on here.

'Want You So Bad' has tasteful driving synths over propulsive guitar leads that are tucked nicely in the back of the mix as opposed to right up front with everything else. That being said, none of the tones employed are exclusive to Icky Blossoms. I can get cutesy waves of romantic lyricism from Purity Ring, sticky vocalizations from Cut Copy, or forward thinking keyboard lines from Grimes. Icky Blossoms don't brandish any of this ingenuity, and anyone versed in modern synth pop won't be surprised by any of the musical direction taken on tracks like 'The Spiral.' The line "I Get So Trapped In My Head Sometimes/I turn what I love Into A Monster" paves the way for a bouncier reduction in sound that's well needed, but similarly familiar and dull.

Mask is a shapeless puzzle piece in today's dizzying amoeba of sounds. I can hear Icky Blossoms trying to find a spot in the whole, but their brimming stew of tiring pop has far too many rough edges and angles to fit in nicely. Maximalism can pay dividends when it's paired with ingenuity, but I can't pick individual parts out to enjoy when there are simply too many gunning for my attention at any given time. 'Terror Nothing' has a handful of promising moments as Pressnall warns he's "cutting out my third eye." He could have used that eye to look on Mask as a whole and pinpoint the litany of elements that could easily have been removed from the bulky equation of electro, doom, sex, freedom, fiction, masks, and countless other ideas that are milked for all they're worth without an intentional plan for inclusion.

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