The Internet – [Album]

Thursday, 15 March 2012

How does an album which claims to trade in electronic music (an idiom which has historically prided itself on “New! First! Now!” aesthetics) come off sounding totally retro? There's no easy way to explain it, but that's exactly what The Internet has done with Purple Naked Ladies, producer Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martians' debut album apart from Odd Future.

From the moment “Violet Nude Women” opens Purple Naked Ladies, listeners will find themselves immersed in exactly the same kind of muted and urbane aural confines that they paid too high a cover to enjoy/endure at any given chill-out club in 1999. With moaning but textural vocals and plainly synthetic effects mounted over swishy, ride cymbal-soaked drums, The Internet hits the ground walking (at most) here as they attempt to set a stage which was already showing pretty heavy wear  ten years ago and has been dark for the most part since 2004. Those patrons of this album who were told by a record store clerk (or their own children) that “The Internet is cutting edge!” will feel a little cheated as the perfectly familiar, relaxing strains of that introduction give way to “They Say” which, while it does have a bit more energy and a great vocal take from Syd Tha Kyd, still feels a little like early millennial elevator music. The exact same sort of chilly backdrop endures throughout the run-time of Purple Naked Ladies but, happily, the album is saved from being nothing more than an anachronistic bore Syd's vocal contributions. At almost every turn, the chanteuse injects a bit of off-handed soul like an afterthought in her vocal takes and those are the bits which end up being perfectly intoxicating. If those parts were just a little more ambitious, listeners would be able to scoff at The Internet and songs like “They Say,” “She DGAF,” “C*NT” and “Love Song” and dismiss it all as just the same kind of electroclashing shit that half-assed producers have been churning out for years, but Syd's voice is the thing that saves them. With that variable in place, a song can sound internationally flavored (“Cocaine”) or like a soulful jam (“They Say”) or like the next generation approach to electronic avant pop after M.I.A. (“Ode To A Dream”) or anything in between – the only restraining barriers to this music are the limits of that voice – and discovering how far it can go is incredibly engaging.

Those who wrote Odd Future off – or any of the projects associated with that collective – would be wise to look into The Internet and Purple Naked Ladies because there is something thought-provoking and and inspiring being cultivated here. Shirley Bassey may have been right when she said that most everything is just history repeating, but this might be the record which proves to be instrumental in keeping the repetition interesting.



Purple Naked Ladies
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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