The Black Kids’ Partie Traumatic is both a mixtape of and love letter to the synth-shimmer dance rock of ’80s new wave, but unlike other Me-Decade music revivalists, it’s without the steel-woven safety net of a cold postpunk bedrock to keep it from careering off the rails into occasional camp of facelessness. Such is the both the strength and the weakness of Partie. It’s a fine indie-rock dance album, but not much more of anything else.
The majority of the problem lies with the Floridian’s 2007 EP, Wizard of Ahs, and the (justified) blog hype that it shockwaved through endless lines of code. The EP was a concise and gorgeous chunk of new-wave dance, which was fine when concentrated in a four-song blast; when stretched as thin as a pair of hyper-tight jeans over a bulkier ten tracks, it sometimes ends up sounding as awkward and out of place as the dancing hipster boyfriend in the already classic sugar-rush jangle of “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You,” with several of tracks (like keyboard beat-stutter of “Listen to Your Body Tonight”) blending together in the shadow of Ahs’ rerecorded glory.
That said, those four songs — along with the hyper, space-pop bliss of “I’m Making Eyes at You” and the guitar-stung swagger of “Look at Me (When I Rock Wichoo”) — are such ludicrously catchy eruptions of witty, innovative party music that album is rendered bulletproof to any criticism on that score: All the LP aims to be is party music. And, on that level, it succeeds. The Black Kids may only have one trick, but as long as they only pull it at a house party, it’s the only one they’ll need.