's superb debut translates palpable pre-millennial tension into neon-lit synthesizer drama -- recalling the heyday of the new wave with none of the irony which sinks like-minded retro-futurists from Romania
to the Rentals
, Love at Absolute Zero
is the soundtrack to a youth rebellion that never was, vividly conjuring a teen underworld as romantic as it is claustrophobic. The album is wonderfully sleek and cinematic -- songs like "Absolute Beginners Again" and the remarkable "17 Berlin" unspool like music videos -- and although My Favorite
bring to mind the chrome-plated aesthetics of the synth pop era with uncanny accuracy, their songs capture a passion and immediacy which the remote robotics of their antecedents lacked. It's quite simply the best album of 1983, delivered 16 years after the fact.