With a name like Cynical Blend, many might come to the conclusion that Inverse Catch-22 is the product of an act that owes much to the dark-edged sounds of such pre-electronica electronic groups as Jo

With a name like Cynical Blend, many might come to the conclusion that Inverse Catch-22 is the product of an act that owes much to the dark-edged sounds of such pre-electronica electronic groups as Joy Division and Depeche Mode. But judging by this beat-smart debut, the U.K.'s Cynical Blend has been more influenced by the likes of British dance-pop outfits Dubstar, Mandalay, and Fatboy Slim—as well as Canadian pop-rocker Alanis Morissette. On the beautifully melancholic "Blowing My Mind," lead singer Donna Grassie (who has toured with Carl Cox and collaborated with the Shamen) sounds like a cross between Alison Moyet and Dusty Springfield. The aggressive "Tears Before Bedtime" recalls Morissette's "You Oughta Know," albeit with a big-beat sensibility, while "Don't Go" is equal parts indie-pop and trip-hop. Throughout, Grassie's core bandmates—keyboardist Chris Grayston (founder of U.K. underground dance imprint Hectic Records) and guitarist Austen Reynolds—fuse scorching rock elements to fluid dance rhythms. Distributed by Navarre.—MP