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While Satisfact bemoans continually being compared to Joy Division, Bauhaus, and Gang of Four, lazy journalism is not to blame. The quartet’s definitive new-wavisms are advertised on Satisfact as if a series of giant flashing billboards were laid out like Burma Shave ads: “Slashing Attack!,” “Robotic Tracks!,” “Not the Knack!,” “We’re Satisfact!” Matthew Steinke’s Peter Murphy moan and Andy Gill guitar, along with Chad States’ whirling synthesizer (he insists that you not call it a “keyboard”), are the main signifiers of a past era. But even nature conspires against Satisfact; bassist Josh Warren has that pasty-faced, long-necked, prominent-Adam’s-appled look you haven’t seen since Romania called it quits, and Steinke appears to be a close cousin of A Flock Seagulls’ main haircut, Mike Score. Despite all that, Satisfact’s secondhand sounds still surge with electricity. “Demonstration”‘s trenchant high-hat dance pulse holds its own against scratchy six-string punches, the duel being reminiscent of those between Kevin Haskins and Daniel Ash, while the lead cut, “Misprint,” shows that Satisfact can be as vigorous as its antecedents. Surprisingly, the album’s instrumental closer, “Four Sided,” is very up-to-date, with an almost Tortoiselike reliance on drone, drums, and bass. But Satisfact does include one more nod to the present: Its hidden track sounds like the log-on gurgles of a modem.

—Christopher Porter