For his second album, Lauer makes a lateral move from Running Back to Permanent Vacation for the cheekily-titled Borndom. For the most part, those seeking the retro joys of Phillips will be pleased. Opener "Crewners," with its ringing synth and hazy, distant vocoder, evokes '70s and early '80s film soundtracks, but its soft sadness quickly gives way to the spring-green of "Gammelan." Beneath humid pads and another vocoder exercise, "Msndrstndng" again shows Lauer's reverence for the early '80s. The title track takes this playfulness to the next level, with its slow-paced bass, warped choral melody and codeine-dub ambience. "Reebs," atop a New Order bassline and twinkling keyboard melody, is one of the album's most endearing recreations of classic synth pop (minus the vocals).
Several vocal tracks stall the record's giddy mood-play. "Alright," featuring Ela, resembles the dirt-under-the-nails disco that Italians Do It Better have mastered, but without that label's knack for sounding both elegant and gutter-broke. Ela's vocals on "Telefon" are more effective, used as textural contrasts to Lauer's entwined synth lines. But it's the Depeche Mode-lite of singer Jasnau on "ESC" that grinds against the album's sequencing. This is an odd stylistic gaffe from a producer who's already proven himself so adept at combining tracks into a work easily enjoyed from beginning to end. But it's to Lauer's credit that these minor complaints feel like just that. For the most part, Borndom is yet another LP designed to soundtrack summer events with coolers waiting to be emptied.