Partie Traumatic (Columbia)
ESSENTIAL "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You"
Cresting on a wave of breathless hype, and with an underwhelming recent Boston performance under its belt, this group of Brit-loving Floridians has set the bar pretty high for itself. And while there's a certain bubblegum synth-pop allure and cheeky lyrical irony in songs like "I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)," it's hard to find ourselves being carried away on youthful pluck and preciousness alone. Front kid Reggie Youngblood musters a barely passable Robert Smith warble, and many of the keyboard riffs, bass progressions, and back-up vocals seem cut and pasted from too many divergent points in musical history. All of that becomes irrelevant, however, when the transcendent rush of the Cure goes Motown on "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You" or the fractured, resplendent romance of "I'm Making Eyes at You" kick in. On "Partie Traumatic," love isn't a battlefield -- everyone's too scared to take the first shot.