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Felix Da Housecat

Kittenz & Thee Glitz (Emperor Norton)

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Discerning music fans must've had their fill of '80s mania by now. Multinationals have been suckering pop consumers into buying their bastard version of an '80s revival from the moment that flannel, Seattle, and surly dispositions officially went second generation. A vaultful of packaged nostalgia to reissue makes for easy profit. Unfortunately, like most other evolutions -- cultural and otherwise -- artificial impositions hinder natural progressions. Or, in our overmarketed demographic, they make people ignore the real thing, 'cause they're too full of the regurgitated trash.

But please, don't ignore Felix Da Housecat's Kittenz & Thee Glitz, as legitimate an offspring of the post-new-wave era as any recently birthed. Felix Stallings Jr., a veteran of the Chicago house scene, has produced a smile-inducing romp every New Order, synthpop, or Sign o' the Times fan can cradle lovingly. Kittenz takes the simplistic, cheesy synth hooks of the early MTV era and marries them to happy, modern dance-floor beats so craftily that the union is one of the most natural club-to-pop-radio crossovers since Daft Punk's Homework.

And it's not just Felix's party -- his younger siblings in Thee Glitz add a certain je ne sais quoi that makes the whole package glow. Monotonal Euro femmes fatales Melistar and Miss Kittin provide snobbish vocals; yet the anthemic lyrics they espouse (some by Chicago electro phenom Tommy Sunshine) mix tales of greedy fame and po-mo dreams in a way neither John Hughes nor Jay McInerney could ever get straight. Kittenz is an exercise on the Wayback Machine that keeps you in the present. It's also electrifying revenge on the motherfuckers who've been trying to resell you memories of that Fixx/Animotion show you once attended.

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