Planningtorock, "W"

3.5

Fringe-y Berlin-based artist Planningtorock (real name: Janine Rostron) drew some mainstream-indie notice last year when she collaborated with the Knife and Mt. Sims on "Tomorrow, in a Year," an ultra-experimental opera based on the life and work of Charles Darwin. So although Rostron's second full-length release as Planningtorock isn't exactly an electro-pop dance party, the sleekly gloomy "W" does sound intended for a slightly wider audience than her 2006 debut did. (A fresh affiliation with DFA-home to such hipster faves as the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem-won't hurt in that regard.) Rostron is best at her most capital-R Romantic: In "The Breaks," for instance, she summons a bit of the swooning intensity Björk accessed in her 2000 soundtrack to "Dancer in the Dark." But "W" has its avant-disco moments, too, as in "Living It Out," where Rostron almost lives up to the Lady Gaga comparisons invited by their shared taste for body modification.