Mar 24, 2011 Web Exclusive
There is a whole class of synth-obsessed electro/dance/pop groups that sound like they had MGMT's Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden as their professors in rock star college. Newest graduate from this school is Starfucker. The Portland, Oregon-based band's second album, Reptilians, indicates it graduated with high honors.
Although Reptilitans is largely inspired by death and its lyrics reflect this inevitable fact of life, its effect is overwhelmingly bubbly and upbeat. The music emphasizes the dance aspect of MGMT university and all the fun and carefree attitude that it brings. Reptilians is peppered with pretty synth patterns, tinkling melody lines, and happy beats. Confirming the good mood is the frothy "Julius" with its chime-y bells, the psychedelic "Mystery Cloud" with its hazy rhythms, and the fizzy "Death as a Fetish" with its infectious chorus.
As is the case with many synth-driven groups, New Order looms large in their background. "Astoria," which generously lifts its basslines from "Blue Monday," confirms this allegiance, but does so with such reverence, one almost forgives the indiscretion. This track indicates a change in tone on Reptilians to a more subdued, introspective one. Excerpts from British philosopher Alan Watts punctuate the album, his dry declarations bringing the mood down at intervals. Still, if you want a positive outlook on death, the overall liveliness of Reptilians should help. (www.myspace.com/strfkrmusic)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 7/10