Maybe electro-clash was relegated to the dustbin of musical history too quickly. What really is the difference between the sounds of critical failures Fischerspooner and critical darlings the Rapture? Peaches is still hanging around trying to offend, and without her there would be no M.I.A. And now, after only being available overseas, Whitey’s 2005 debut has been re-released by uber-cool label Dim Mak. The record contains just enough interesting moments to help keep the heart of electro-clash beating.
From the get go on “Intro/In the Limelight,” it’s (almost painfully) clear what currently cool bands the members of Whitey are looking to as avatars of their sound. There’s cowbell right out of LCD Soundsystem’s “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” and a tightly wound guitar line reminiscent of Whirlwind Heat, all set to a MSTRKRFT-tastic beat. From there the album plods over much of the same ground. Into shuddering synths? See “Leave Them All Behind.” Wanna do the robot to a machine like beat? Groove to “Y.U.H.2.B.M.2.”
Maybe I could discuss the lyrical content of the album if main man N.J. Whitey would turn the vocals up every now and then. Most of the album finds him sounding like he’s crooning through ten times the filters Julian Casablancas used to like to gum his vocals up with. I can make out that “A Walk in the Dark” is a creepy stalker tale. And when Whitey layers his vocals on top of each other, as he does on “Can’t Go Out, Can’t Stay In,” the results are pretty digital harmonies.
Most of the album tries to stay too much in dark, Atari-rock mode. The ninth of ten tunes, “Non-Stop,” finally gets jaunty and lighthearted with its simple 2/4 beat. And the closing title track is the one true standout. Whitey ditches the beeps and blips altogether for a menacing reworking of the sound of a sweet, lullaby-like ’50s love song. Think David Lynch trying to have fun at a discothèque and you get the idea of what that song and the rest of its companions are aiming for.
Label: http://www.dimmak.com/“A Walk in the Dark” MP3