Heartland synthesist Dylan Ettinger follows up 2010’s widely lauded New Age Outlaws imaginary cyber-soundtrack with a stark, dark, and intensely different collection of misshapen new wave weirdnesses, Lifetime Of Romance. Recorded at a proper studio, and written over the course of a year, the seven songs of Romance reflect a heavy influence from the fringier strains of bummed out quasi-industrial synth-pop in the vein of Fad Gadget, certain Cabaret Voltaire, early Human League, etc, but dragged through his own warped, wonky filter. The approaches vary radically, from abandoned factory dirges (“Sport And Superstion,” “Maude”) to dubbed-out man-machine paranoia (“Disparager”) to bouncy sine-wave robot radio singles (“Arco Iris,” “Blue and Blue”) and general electronic workshop exploration (“18.0”). It’s always to be heralded when an artist braves terrain they haven’t traversed yet, so it’s a kick to hear Ettinger’s secret circuitry language channeled into the pop architectures of twisted synth-wave melancholia for the first time. Another engaging step by an always intriguing American original. 4-panel CD digipaks with synthesizer trio cover photography by Michael Anderson.