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PSEUDO ECHO (Buy CDs by this artist)
Pseudo Echo (EMI America) 1984
Long Plays 83-87 (Aus. EMI) 1987
Love an Adventure (RCA) 1987
Race (RCA) 1989

The distance between Australia and the world's musical capitals occasionally leads to lame time-zone wrinkles like Pseudo Echo, a Melbourne quartet whose functional dance-rock sound (on Pseudo Echo) would have fit nicely alongside Duran Duran or other emergent hair-synth-guitar bands a few years earlier. The Pseuds' weird move was hitching their wagon to turn-of-the-decade disco, cutting a pablumized Sparks-like version of "Funkytown" in 1987. (For what it's worth, that goofy hybrid appears on Love an Adventure.)

John Punter produced the first album (entitled Autumnal Park outside of the US), setting the vapid and repetitive songs in a posh blend of sounds traceable to Duran Duran and Ultravox. (Although the catchy hook of "Listening" actually owes more to Men Without Hats.)

Having undergone a major personnel shift and a radical image change (out went the lipstick and stupid haircuts, on went the leather jackets and casually rumpled look), Pseudo Echo re-recorded three of the first LP's songs with lots more percussion for the dance-oriented Love an Adventure, a slicker and less overtly stylized album that still has no reason to exist.

Co-produced by Julian Mendelsohn and singer Brian Canham, Race (another image change: long hair/serious expressions) drops the synthesizers and crashing beats to play melodic hard-rock with blustery Eddie Van Halen-imitation solos. Having discovered three styles to which they can't make any contribution, Pseudo Echo should really consider going away.

[Ira Robbins]