May 5, 2006

Chromatics - Nite

Chromatics attempt to make drowsiness erotic in “Nite,” and I’d like to hear more vocalists sound like it on the disco PA around closing time. That approach makes perfect sense; life after 2 a.m. is when the lovin’ starts and when future (love) child custody battles begin to tell their sides of the story to the judge. In this single, the Seattle duo of Adam Miller and Lena Okazaki prove they did their homework on Italo-disco and the DFA songbook. Their only innovation of “Nite” is the pure sincerity of Okazaki’s delivery – her vocals were reportedly recorded right after she awoke from a nap. Unfortunately, the music still rubs its eyes. As our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed diva drags herself out of bed and mutters naturalist poetry (i.e. “How did music begin?/Did it come from the wind?”), the midtempo disco rhythm takes too long to pickup and the choppy harpsichord-synth melodies are too light and unremarkable. The b-side, “The Guest” doesn’t fare any better with its opening bit of 80’s slasher flick melodrama and Miller trying to sound like a pathetic stalker to the tune of a Remain in Light-era Talking Heads impression. However, “Glass Slipper” is the payoff here. Chromatics recasts the Cinderella myth as that of the heroine chasing her prince in the night like a predator. A classic disco high-hat hypnotizes while a dirty electro vocoder narrates the tale. A kitschy, but rather sinister synth line straight out of a giallo flick introduces and ends the tension. Here’s hoping that the Chromatics are more Dario Argento than James Murphy on their upcoming album, Shining Violence.

Troubleman Unlimited / TMU 150

[Cameron Macdonald]