Showing posts with label utrecht. Show all posts
Showing posts with label utrecht. Show all posts

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Utrecht - Phantom of Indie Boyz (2006)

   It's Tokyo time again:

"Do you know there are discos in hell, too?
Six people died at the party when we played there"

   Obscure enough to only allow me one YouTube link, there's still a lost mass appeal to this trio's output. Utrecht is something of a Neo Shibuya-Kei supergroup, with the genius-level sample manipulator Tomonori Hayashibe of whimsical, super-speed pop exemplars Plus-Tech Squeeze Box joining the more Francophiliac stop-start dance purveyors Gikyo Nakamura, a DJ better known as The Pegasuss, and Ukai, leader of COPTER4016882 and a labelmate of electro disco svengali Yasutaka Nakata, a one-time upstart in Shibuya-Kei traditions whose work ethic and guidance of the successful trio Perfume and his band Capsule have seen him obtain cottage industry prestige and Asia crossover success

   The trio's first record, New Beach, bore a label recommending them to followers of Mylo, The United States of Electronica and other such groups they are a touch more interesting than even if they paddle in the same pool. In common with the upbeat  inclinations of their previous turnout, that production was their Digital Disco of Love album; this is the synthetic, yearning, warehouse rocking-derived follow-through, suitable for a long cruise through a Mirror Universe Miami twenty five years ago. And this casual drive still faces occasional interruptions from the lightning strikes of the rock gods

   That squelch of music that one would hear at the slow push of a pause button on a tape deck impels the album as '1980' rolls around; an unspooling soundscape of synths and what is either woodwind or backwards strings proceeds in a fashion that suggest the song has ensued in reverse. This effect lasts around 30 seconds before plucked guitar notes and a mildly plaintive melody elicit two reactions - "Don Henley" and "Mature Sophomore Recording." Whilst this is built on with the unison, wistful harmonics of the trio's singing - it should be noted here that as a result of singing in broken English, Utrecht provides little intelligibility to their vocals - snares that may have been devised by turntable cutting and a fast pace, there is still enough downbeat atmosphere to ease one into the record gently
"It's not so bad to start from a wasteland
I'm the chosen

I can imagine vividly
Scenery seen far away
I can get everything
Luxurious dinners and a precious girlfriend"
   If Phantom of Indie Boyz bore a similar sticker to its predecessor, the reference points would most likely be the skinny jeans, indie dance heroes of five years ago it slots alongside - Justice, LCD Soundsystem and my personal favourite, Cut Copy - with the odd lashings of M83. Apparently, the scowling electro-rock song 'turntable still burning' is constructed from references to various genre tracks from that year, whilst the preceding 'morning haze' contains dream pop-like textures comparable to M83's synthesised swoons. But it is pop music that buoys Utrecht's best work, as it did on their previous record, and this is clear from the ones I love best: the eponymous and snappy neon night ride, 'phantom of indie boyz;' the aptly named second track 'stay gold,' a yearningly romantic, excellently produced and composed dance-pop number in the St. Etienne-with-low-end mould; and 'kiss me, kiss me,' a softly funky, minimal electro-disco piece that is referential to other music in a different manner to the aforementioned 'turntable...', bringing the melody and lyrics of the first album's 'first kiss' into a new setting of indelicate lyrics and very dégagé, very Japanese rapping - cut-and-paste to the core

   Sound samples are available here; lyrics are found there