BOTTOM LINE Synth pop studded with Fire Island imagery, personal politics and high-end collaborators.
Fischerspooner began 20 years ago as a brash electroclash duo that was as much performance art as it was dance music.
But in the nine years since their last album, “Entertainment,” frontman Casey Spooner and multi-instrumentalist Warren Fischer have raised both their skill level and their ambitions. And with “Sir” (Ultra), they pair their usual synth-driven shock and awe with a new emotional depth, aided by producer Michael Stipe, who once dated Spooner, and Boots and Stuart White from Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” team, whose influence is felt most in the lush “I Need Love.”
The combination gives the single “TopBrazil” a surprising twist to the Depeche Mode-influenced sound, one of several songs in which Spooner takes inspiration from gay life on Fire Island. There’s a bit of Pet Shop Boys storytelling in “Togetherness,” an edge of industrial dance pop power in “Everything Is Just Alright.”
But the mix of swagger and confusion Spooner brings to “Strut,” where he declares, “This is not love,” only to be followed by “This is not not-love,” shows how much nuance Fischerspooner is trying to create and how impressively they succeed.