June 25, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a B-

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons’ most pop-friendly album begins with three firestarters: the Kraftwerk-get-down groove of ”Music Response,” the unrelenting house of ”Under the Influence,” and the Bernard Sumner collaboration ”Out of Control,” seven entrancing minutes of pop songcraft meeting whirring, disco-trek beats. It’s the techno/rock bridge we’ve been waiting to cross for years. Alas, the rest of Surrender doesn’t soar so high. The gorgeous, field-of-flowers vibe on some tracks finds the duo again expanding electronica’s vocabulary, but the pop cameos weigh heavily. Hard as they try, not even the Chems can wake up Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. B+

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