(Feral Media, 2017)
Take that, Handsome Furs! Or, I mean, look – I’ve got nothing against the Handsome Furs, but man do I dig the Casual Sexists, Varrick and Ed, a married duo from London currently living in New York. There, you got the connection now? The new wave/synthpunk of Handsome Furs was cool while that marriage lasted, but it’s kaput now, and we must turn our gaze elsewhere – in a more positive, less Soviet direction, maybe? So the Casual Sexists it is, and boy is that a great name. There it is, hand-stickered on the spine of the Norelco case, ultramodern and cool and ready for your ears. And I don’t want to undersell how cool the Casual Sexists are – one look at their promo photo where they’ve painted each other pink and blue gives off a retro vibe so enculturated by the 1980s that you’d be hard-pressed to believe anything other than that it’s from a tour poster announcing that they’re opening up for X-Ray Spex or some headliner equally as apt. Seriously, I need a calendar check for the current year of our Lord, stat.
Karakara is only three tracks long, but each song is a memorable blast of electro cotton candy. Not sheepishly hiding the genres they love behind them for anything, Varrick and Ed openly embrace post punk, new wave, synthpop, and dancehall, a combination as chilled-out as it is immediate. Using preprogrammed tunes and banging on everything in sight, the C-Sexists wriggle through these three tracks like they’ve sucked down a bunch of worms that are now squirming in time in their bellies. Super gross! But they were gummi worms, didn’t I tell you? Disco-ball strobe gummi worms, and everything neon is dripping in your vision and covering the surroundings like a 3D grid on a Trapper Keeper cover. Varrick and Ed slinkily spin nighttime city yarns in your ear canals, all the while thrusting in the general direction of the party they’re happily soundtracking. Won’t you come along and join them before the sun comes up and you have to head back to that imposing office building on Wall Street, or in the City, depending on what city you happen to be in? That’s where Karakara comes in. With Karakara in your possession, the party continues wherever you are! And no Soviet symbolism to harsh the buzz.