La Vida Locash
t must be hard being Moshi Moshi Records. You release an EP from Bloc Party, they go on to a major label and generate unanimous critical hype for their debut LP. You release a record by Hot Chip and EMI soon picks them up for their much stronger follow-up. Can Lo-Fi-Fnk be that far off from a similar fate? When Moshi Moshi releases Boylife later this year, it’ll most likely only be a matter of time: it’s a record in the vein of Hot Chip’s debut and Bloc Party’s EP’s: a record whose highlights are so high that you can almost forgive its weaker moments.
But there are weak moments, so let’s get ‘em out of the way first and get to the good stuff. Closer “The End” typifies a problem that crops up often: some of these ostensibly dance-pop songs simply aren’t danceable. Unless they’re mining the Talking Heads stiff funk playbook and giving into their impulses the rest of the time, tracks like “The End,” “Heartache,” and “City” should just jettison the live(-sounding?) drums. Appeals to authenticity are boring and usually distract—these are no exceptions. Along those same lines, “System” and “Heartache” are the slow numbers and, on a record where the upbeat tracks kill, they suffer in comparison. It’s nice to see the kids thinking album, but no one’s expecting Discovery and they shouldn’t be either.
Yet. Because despite those flaws, Boylife is the type of record that Daft Punk should’ve put out last year—filled with Kitsuné synths and Junior (not Senior) vocals it gets the up-beat single part exactly right. An anthem to come out to, “Steppin’ Out,” doles out glistening synth flickers and a live-sounding beat that works. “Wake Up”’s beat is even harder, but slows it down a bit and allows the track to stretch out, expand, and become the type of sing-along that 4 AM was made for.
Perhaps the best track on the album is “What’s on Your Mind?,” whose lyrics further suggests that repressed homosexuality is a huge concern to the duo. (“Why don’t you tell us what’s on your mind? / Nothing’s going to change if you keep on whispering.”) A synth lick and a boy’s chorus wrap themselves around the steady beat, as the song utilizes the type of chord progression that automatically elicits “feeling” and “uplift.” It’s the type of trick that, in lesser hands (Moby), would be tedious and cloying. Here it feels like genuine naiveté, undergirded by a healthy dose of enthusiasm.
Stream the entirety of Boylife here.