How many hipsters does it take to change a light bulb? Sixteen and they’re all here in another Kitsun? compilation. It’s no secret that the Parisian label offers a springboard for bands on their way to indie stardom - lest we forget Foals or Simian Mobile Disco. That’s only one side however. It’s all a bit Big Brother house spawning a product year after year that has its share of flaws, dysfunction and tastelessness albeit, thankfully, with a decent amount of quality control. Kitsun? has a tendency to follow a blueprint though. It is one that is already somewhat tired, and increasingly redundant in the face of the ever more febrile indie blogosphere.
So now this brings us to the The Indie Dance Issue as they call it. If you’re familiar with the label's emphasis on dance orientated tracks, you’ll see the irony easily here. But irony aside, the focus on this issue is very much a varied one ranging from the electronically nostalgic to the psychedelically twee. A couple of surprises are in there too, such as the Azari and III remix of Creep’s ‘Days’. The otherworldly reverberant and lushly sensual vocals of The XX’s Romy Madley Croft are accentuated by the fragmented and schizophrenic samples that run alongside the malignant stabs of the sweeping synths adding a sinister disorder to the otherwise uniform drum samples dominating the verse. POLARSETS’ ‘Sunshine Eyes’ combines the similar glimmering melodies of Two Door Cinema Club’s ‘Cigarettes in the Theatre’ with the breezy verses that ‘Something Good Can Work’ blows out, whilst mixing in the tropical salsa beats of Friendly Fires’ ‘Jump in the Pool’. But while the carefree pop sensibilities of POLARSETS create the easy and instant familiarity of TDCC indie prep tunes, it’s the Friendly Fires-ish synthesised melodies and percussion that shifts it into the celestial. Logo X Icona Pop’s ‘Luvsick’, on the other hand, takes the sugar rush of a Nineties dance pop piano riff and sweetens it by the frosting of delicate girl vocals and adds a note of delirium via the pulsating sharp background twirls. Kitsun? still has an eye for what’s relevant and even if The Indie Dance Issue doesn’t have stars of previous editions' calibre, it knows those who can fill their party shoes.
That’s the good. How about the moderately okay to the bad? Alexander Dexter Jones (Mick Jones’ son) brings an Eighties soundtrack via the Alphaville-esque mid-tempo floating shimmer that wanders along in a nonchalant fashion. Gallops' ‘Miami Spider’ is a garishly uptight wave of repetitive and un-evolved brutish bass swells. Is Tropical’s ‘The Greeks’ begins with a promising Cure-esque Eastern guitar riff before crashing into a disposable assault of copy and paste superficial club beats that it optimistically races into.
Expect to only see a few of these bands achieve anything worthwhile. Less Kitsun? Maison, more Kitsun? 'Meh'-son.
5Alex Yau's Score