(Singapore Sling Tapes, 2014)
I was sold on this album from the moment I pressed “play.”
In my experience, there are two prevalent types of opening tracks for electronic albums. There’s the “ultra-ambient” route, in which layers of synthesizer slowly play the same three notes for a full minute or two. I’m not exactly certain why this has become common practice. When I sit down to listen to music, it’s because I want to hear music; if I want to be put to sleep, I’ll listen to one of those apps that plays the sound of rain pattering quietly on a roof.
The other prevalent opening for electronic albums is much more preferable (in my opinion), although it has to be done right. It’s the “all-out explosion of crazy dance grooves” route, and that’s decidedly the way Oxykitten opens Parking Lot High. The first track, “Attention Attendees! Assemble!” is a bombastic and in-your-face number, with a GREAT beat and a can-do attitude. It demands your attention, almost obnoxiously so, but hey, the title suggests that. Once the music gets going, though, I stop caring about what I like and don’t like in opening tracks of electronic albums, or whatever other criteria I look at music with to determine whether it’s “good.” It doesn’t matter if the song is a little obnoxious and demanding; I want to give it my undivided attention, because it deserves that from me for being such a fun song! Definitely a full-volume song here too; don’t listen to it with the volume down.
I really love Oxykitten’s spirit of fun throughout this entire album. The cover artwork is great, featuring an epic blaster-duel between two half-kittens/half-transformers. And the song titles are fun to look through. “Jin Guice…” “Asian Invalion…” “Tits of Anger…” There’s just a great sense of playfulness and enjoyment emanating from the overall work. Even the name “Oxykitten” is a fun play on words, merging “oxycontin” with the ever-lovable “kitten,” with no real purpose apparent beyond the simple fun of the combination; no deeper meaning required when there are already kittens involved.
And coupled with this sense of fun is an abundance of ever-shifting beats and wild melodies; not overwhelmingly so, but more in the style of a toddler singing to himself while playing, constantly losing track of where he left off, and getting sick of riffs at breakneck speed.
There are plenty of fun songs on the album. “Moth Eyes” and “Softly Congratulates Himself” are two stand-outs for me, just full of happy riffs and catchy beats. One of the major highlights of the album though is track 7, “Geranium Hands.” I can’t tell if it’s just my enduring love for all musicals, but this track REALLY sounds to me like a space opera tribute to “We Love You Conrad” from Bye Bye Birdie. I dunno; take a listen for yourselves and tell me if I’m crazy. Either way, it has a very catchy tune and it’s definitely worth listening.
All in all, Oxykitten’s Parking Lot High is a great new release from Singapore Sling Tapes. It’s a lot of fun, and highly recommended if you’re into funky electro-tunes. I’d never heard of Oxykitten before this album was sent to me; I’ll definitely be checking out the previous releases from this artist, and, if they’re anything like Parking Lot High, listening to them voraciously for the next several weeks. I hope you decide to do the same! And buy the album on Bandcamp if you can; always support independent labels!