by Jeff Milo
Stepdad's honest pop
Debut LP Wildlife Pop comes out June 12th (Black Bell Records)
At the risk of over-intellectualizing dance-pop, heh, and, submitting that maybe I’ll never be quite-IN-on the joke of how swiftly the hipster cliché (ironic-on-purpose-with-our-dayglo and sweater-vested smirks) implodes upon itself, ready or not: Stepdad come shuffling your way with celestially-chimed major key marauds of funplosions; indie-pied-pipers singing of “Cutie Boots,” “Starfriends” and “Treasure Hugs,” honest in their hallowing of hooks and frank in their preservationist bent for the dance freak-out, conjuring lightning-strike pop potions dashed with Dan Deacon as much as Michael Jackson.
This Grand Rapids-by-way-of-Chicago quartet go for the jitterbug jugular on every track of their first proper full length; breathy croons into flitting falsettos, dazzling synthesizers hailing like neon confetti, low chest-thumping bass booms percolating under live-drums melded meticulously to sequenced beats. It levitates and unlocks, caution to the wind and whirled way up into the cozy clouds, breaking loose. Even their slower ballads set that arms-in-the-air, feel the night and free your ass vibe. Wildlife Pop is an ebullient showcasing of the sharp allure cocktailed onto computers, synthesizers and mellifluous modulators by four musical minds of this all-access-Internet century, keenly stirring their multitudinous influences from the tremendous jumble of pop-variant styles and electro-boogie autuers of every and any shelf storing four decades of surging/soothing/anthemic-four-on-the-floor sensibilities of the post-disco era.
Over-intellectualized. Too late. Can dance-pop be cerebral? These four dudes aren’t writing lyrics about California girls or setting the night on fire – but their music, at points, is sluiced with just as much hypnotic moonwalk-bouncing, swirly-slide hoorays as most ‘pop’ that’s pulsed out there today. They know how to hook you, but they aren’t insulting your intelligence. The test is whether you considered yourself too cool close to dance, to close your eyes, even, while dancing. Not that all pop, or all dance-music, has to be that don’t-worry-be-happy unabashed blare, but it sounds pretty good when said-music’s makers are comfortable in their own skin, being all cooing and fragile for the bridge and then disco laser light dynamos at the chorus. Those strutting beats, your shoulders start shimmying, you feel the felicitous fuzz of synthesizers shower down upon you all glitter-vision as your feet keep stomping to that beat.
This is what happens when you have to sit and write about effective dance-music
you just wanna get up and
No use intellectualizing