As a member of Fuck Buttons, the dearly departed electronic noise duo, Andrew Hung helped elevate the experiential over the emotional, imagining Olympian feats of speed and strength far beyond anything that would be considered “relatable.” And in the past decade, Hung’s most celebrated projects—whether in pop or film—bear witness to someone else’s transformation rather than centering himself. The compact synth-pop of Hung’s solo work has offered a quiet counterpoint to his collaborations, and his third album, Deliverance, makes the loudest pronouncement of the project’s modest aims: Meet Andrew Hung, he’s just One of the Guys.

Granted, Deliverance will suffice for anyone trying to catch a contact buzz from the recent 10-year anniversary of Slow Focus. If Fuck Buttons songs were Decepticons—imposing, awesome, bent on destruction—then Hung’s solo work reimagines the same materials in their more familiar, useful modes of planes, boomboxes, or cars. Putting aside his reputation for circuit bending and synth corruption, the mere song titles of “Changes,” “Soldier,” or “Love Is” are truth in advertising, at least in revealing that Hung is wholly uninterested in artifice as a lyricist. “The world has turned and left me in the dark/I feel so lonely now,” he howls on “Don’t Believe Me Now,” its adolescent angst believable if only because Deliverance aspires to only the most formative, gateway synth-pop.

But while Hung’s songcraft has gotten sharper and more streamlined since 2017’s Realisationship, his naked voice is more jarring than anything he fed through a modded-out Playskool mic on Street Horrrsing. Prone to holding a tune like a live eel, Hung sings in a quaver more emo than emotive, less concerned with exploring feelings than with expressing that he’s feeling it deeply. While Hung knows how to let it rip on a chorus, his intensity often modulates at random, conflicting with underlying sentiment and drawing far too much attention to first-rhyme-best-rhyme lyrics like, “It’s like a window into shame/Changes with the rain/It’s hidden from the place I blame.” Or, the chorus on opener “Ocean Mouth,” “The fear I feel is a turning wheel/It’s a bitter taste.”

Regardless of the honesty that this approach brings to Hung’s DIY intentions, Deliverance might work best as something else entirely, perhaps as a beat tape filled with reference vocals for the sort of stadium-status UK indie stars that know how to squeeze the maximum amount of drama out of the minimum amount of wordplay—Kele Okereke, Yannis Philappakis, Ed MacFarlane. Or hell, even Robert Smith, as most of the lyrics could pass for the placeholders for the Cure’s 21st-century music; indeed, Deliverance gives us a song called “Never Be the Same,” whereas an official version of the Cure’s “It Can Never Be the Same” has been promised since 2016. Of course, Robert Smith is Robert Smith. Hung—he’s still just One of the Guys.

All products featured on Pitchfork are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Andrew Hung: Deliverance