The debut album from viola player and disco-dork-cum-regular-dork Kelley Polar, Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens
, is a letter of acceptance to all who cut loose on the dance floor but probably shouldn't. See, Polar is the quintessential outsider (he was kicked out of Juilliard), and Gardens
' charm is paradoxical Polar is truly at home when he sounds most out of place. Against a slick boogie template, Polar's white-boy vocals stick out like a pocket protector. His nasal rhapsodizing takes cosmic turns on "My Beauty in the Moon" and "Black Hole" and is almost always multitracked for an effect that is a prog-ish drag on the lavish electronic disco that whizzes by him. Producer Morgan Geist approaches the boards with a tech-happy, early-Eighties electro aplomb that propels the straight dance numbers ("Here in the Night," "The Rooms in My House Have Many Parties") and beautifies the sophisti-pop that recalls Junior Boys after all their iciness has melted. Synths zap, keyboards quiver, bass lines quake with precision, and everywhere love is alive. Monkey-limbed freaks, unite: If you're dancing by yourself, you are not alone.