The Facts Of Life, the second album from Black Box Recorder, opens with vocalist Sarah Nixey and an unidentified male voice trading thin, automobile-centered double entendres like a modern-day Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. All the while, borderline-kitschy synthesized strings and disembodied "la la las" fill out the background. In its own way, this is a Gainsbourgian touch as well, using the common language of pop music to sneak in a subversive notion or two. On "The Facts Of Life," already a left-field hit in the U.K., Nixey delivers a sweet rap and a sweeter chorus about budding sexuality amid a swath of keyboards. Call it pervergum. Black Box Recorder is in part the brainchild of Luke Haines, who watched the early-'90s Britpop explosion from the margins as the frontman of The Auteurs. Now, he seems intent on joining the fray with his sensibility intact, and with Nixey and co-composer John Moore, he may have crafted the perfect soundtrack for the morning after the tacky sexuality of The Spice Girls and Robbie Williams. "I'm not too keen on looking for the evil in the everyday… I'm more interested in looking for the everyday in evil," Haines has said in interviews, and while that might sound like splitting hairs, the album bears out his claim. "Home improvements / in our dream home / home improvements / we're not moving," Nixey coos on "Straight Life." There's something everyday and evil in the way she makes it sound, even if you have to listen to hear it in the midst of this lovely poison-candybox of an album.

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