Release Date: Mar 8, 2011
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
The synth-pop market has officially been saturated (or electro-pop, indie-electro or however the fuck you wanna describe Starfucker). After an unimpressive (but still pretty charming) self-titled debut album and some EPs, the Portland electronica band—with the unspeakably impractical name—has returned with Reptilians. With so many bands making this variety of keyboard-based, half-dance computer music, inventiveness and originality have become a rare commodity.
It's been four years since the surprising commercial success of MGMT's Oracular Spectacular, and a steady stream of vaguely pysch, synth-loving bands continues to flow from that record's neon wake. In the corner of higher aspirations, you have Columbia-signed fresh-facers Foster the People, whose labelmate status with MGMT gives off a bit of a "the calls are coming from inside the house" feeling. Portland synth-poppers Starfucker, on the other hand, have been doing the spacey headband thing for almost as long as MGMT have (or, more accurately, were)-- and, yet, it proves difficult to resist comparison.
Since its inception in 2007, Portland, Oregon’s Starfucker has been praised for its dance hooks and buoyant energy, perhaps exemplified by the band’s irresistible 2009 cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. Reptilians is the most infectious thing that the band has done yet, but this album, like the group’s self-titled debut, often opts for sensation where simplicity would do. The effect is ultimately one of redundancy.
The week of writing this review, Starfucker were at South by Southwest. I was not, and so got the joy of a week’s worth of ‘I’m at SXSW, I’m industry innit?!’ while being in the freezing cold faced with the reality of just how much it costs to be a music ‘bod’ proper. Until, that is, one tweet popped up: 'Ryan just got arrested... WTF FUCK THE POLICE...
There is a whole class of synth-obsessed electro/dance/pop groups that sound like they had MGMT's Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden as their professors in rock star college. Newest graduate from this school is Starfucker. The Portland, Oregon-based band's second album, Reptilians, indicates it graduated with high honors. .
Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way first. With a name like Starfucker you better be monumentally good or bad; then again you might put on a hell of a stage show. Whatever the case may be, you have caught the attention of plenty of people just by the name of your band. Enter stage right, so when I popped (actually downloaded) Reptilians into my IPod I really can’t say what I expected to hear.