Courtesy of Lex Records
Neon Neon – “Belfast” Download (Right click and select “Save Link As”)
Neon Neon — made up of from Welsh psychedelic rocker Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals and American DJ Boom Bip — time travels between ’80s electro and modern electropop on their debut album, Stainless Style.
Neon Neon finds a strange common ground between psychedelic rockers and electronica freaks, and fills it with a fitting dance party. The duo finds a medium between the tripped-out pop rockers and sample-tweaking electronica freaks, and then shoves them all in for a smooth ride in a DeLorean.
Though Stainless Style harnesses its power from a bygone era, it’s not a retro record. Neon Neon just embraces the period’s simple layering of techno and then adds its respective bags of tricks to the mix — Rhys’ bizarre pop sensibility and warm voice and Boom Bip’s keen sample craftwork.
In the standout track “I Lust U,” fellow Welsh singer Cate Le Bon joins the boys for a romp in yesterday’s tomorrow. They boil down the synth to the bare essential — a catchy hook. The beat is so simple it’s stupid, yet begs to be repeated on an infinite loop. The old-school/new-school combo sounds a bit like Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction,” and is every bit as enjoyable in its slick-yet-gaudy style.
At first, it’s strange to hear a band incorporate a now-antiquated interpretation of the future. Stainless Style is reportedly a concept album about the life of John DeLorean, famous creator of that boxy car-turned-time-machine immortalized in “Back to the Future.” More apparent in the music, though, is the outdated futurism of the DeLorean. Though obviously old, it still evokes that futuristic vibe — very apt for the neo-electro fun of Neon Neon.
—By Asst. Arts and Living Editor Bridget Riley