Release Date: Jul 9, 2013
Record label: Mexican Summer
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Chillwave
Part Time's second album, PDA, isn't much different from their first, What Would You Say? David Speck's bedroom-created, lo-fidelity synth pop is still incredibly woozy, off-kilter, and a little creepy. It's also remarkably catchy, sounding like classic Cure pop songs run happily through Ariel Pink's freak filter. PDA brings in a few new influences, dropping in a little disco, some Cars-meets-Suicide (especially on "Living in the U.S.A."), and a touch more guitar in the cheapo synth/drum machine mix.
Blame Drive, or maybe just blame Chromatics. Actually why blame anybody? The jingles, synth and sugary sleaze of Eighties art-pop have long been the focus of revivalist trends. Are we still hearing this approach because it's easy to emulate, or because musicians have a genuine ache for the synth of yore? Recent successes Ariel Pink, Mac De Marco and Twin Shadow each brought their contorted imprint to a side of pop long thought criminally uncool, in turn kick-starting a critical reappraisal of the less hipster friendly acts of the 80s.
Catfish, the eerie 2010 documentary from Henry Joost and brothers Ariel and Nev Schulman, defined the rise of online social media and explored mysterious, perverted aspects of Facebook, including fake profile creation, online relationships, and age misrepresentation. Part Time, the eccentric musical project of David Speck, relates stories redolent of the film that seem innocuous and adolescent, but are dispersed among bizarre lyrics and oddly familiar chord progressions that conjure up feelings of awkwardness and those unfortunate childhood memories of being the third wheel. PDA is a nighttime record for young, “indie” lovers.
David Speck is slavishly in thrall to glo-fi mentalist Ariel Pink, and his music is so highly derivative of Pink’s Z-movie karaoke that it feels mechanical. The result is a nasty aftertaste of contrived weirdness. In some ways the Californian’s coherent pop writing fills a hole in the wake of Pink’s deliberately difficult 2012 album ‘Mature Themes’.