Plus Device: Puncture

It's easy to get caught up in the guessing game surrounding Plus Device's identity. Its web site is coyly evasive and Hefty itself only concedes that the group is “a secret side project of two well-known electronic producers” and one with apparent Detroit connections. While Plus Device's sound is far from generic, its heavy embrace of classic Detroit techno—basic drum machines, Moog synthesizers, Rhodes piano, the Roland TB-303—tends to camouflage the individuating touches that reveal immediately a particular artist's signature. Having said that, there's no question Puncture's acid-drenched “Our Pleasures (Realization)” and especially its drum machine workout and voice slicing could be the handiwork of 2 AM/FM, the Spectral duo of Tadd Mullinix and Marc Cantu. On the other hand, tracks like the syncopated electro-funkster “Ultra Seductive,” “Absorb,” and euphoric “My, To Make You Feel” could be by Hefty artist Eliot Lipp, so intently do they squeeze every last bit of juice from their squealing Moogs. Elsewhere, “Body Heat,” with its crisp snare slap, synth banks, and monotone vocodered croak, impresses more in this fuller context than it did as a single while the booty-bass strut of “Sexual Harassment” finds Plus Device and guest vocalist Dutch Master getting filthy (Puncture's sex-oriented song titles and photography suggest a brazenly hedonistic mindset). No matter whose hands are twirling the knobs (perhaps Hefty head John Hughes is involved too), Puncture's fresh fusion of classic and contemporary electronic sounds will strongly appeal to fans of classic (Mantronix, Drexciya, Model 500, Kraftwerk) and current acts (2 AM/FM, James T. Cotton, Eliot Lipp).

November 2006