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Katsen

It Hertz!

(Shelflife; US: 13 Oct 2009; UK: 13 Oct 2009)

It Hertz! is about as pure synth pop as an album created in 2009 can get, and anyone looking for new songs using the sounds of the ‘80s could certainly do worse than to give Katsen a try. Songs like opener “Let’s Build a City” and “I’m a Doctor” are silly and bouncy in the way that reminds you why you ever started liking Casios and drums-that-don’t-sound-like drums in the first place. Two covers—“Start as You Mean to Go On” by Black Box Recorder and “German Film Star” by the Passions—are included and the melodic tendencies inherited from the originals make them at least as appealing as the original work (though the U.S. version lacks and misses the inclusion of the Pixies’ “Cactus” from the U.K. version). Still, it’s the final track, “Florian”, that shines above all else, demonstrating a sincerity that sharply contrasts the ironic detachment of the rest of the album and featuring synth work that floats in and out of the airspace rather than cutting it apart. Too often the duo’s gratingly artistic inclinations get the better of them with experimental instrumentals and spoken-word dross, but for the most part, It Hertz! is a decent, if inconsequential batch of synth-pop frivolity.

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Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


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