It's appropriate that Leisha Hailey of Uh Huh Her also stars in Showtime series The L Word, because, for all its new wave trappings, Common Reaction sounds amazingly like the soundtrack for a risqué TV show about plucky young women — polished, feminine and sporting just a tiny bit of edge.
Hailey isn't all of Uh Huh Her — she's joined by Camila Grey, who's worked as a keyboard player for a variety of artists, from Dr. Dre to Melissa Auf der Maur. The two share vocal duties, harmonizing neatly and even coming close to being a double-headed, sweeter-voiced Chrissie Hynde on "Wait Another Day."
They're at their absolute best when gliding and rushing over the sharp electro-pop of the uptempo tracks, mixing slick production with Depeche Mode's '80s synth sounds. Opener "Not a Love Song," in particular, feels similar to the weird-yet-catchy electro pop of British hit factory Xenomania — the architects of Cher's "Believe" and the entire catalog of UK chart divas Girls Aloud. The lazy eroticism of "Explode" and the effects-saturated "Covered" would easily fit into this section of the browser rack, too.
With such a strong start, it's a pity Common Reaction's second half doesn't have quite the same sharpness — ballads such as "Everyone" and "Dreamer" should probably have cut back on the Sweet and Low. Nonetheless the first six tracks are strong enough to carry the rest of the album — just like the best friend your TV heroine can always lean on.