Judi Chicago plays party music. There is no political agenda here. Though their namesake is a feminist artist, these guys just want to have fun. When the whacked-out lyrics depict decadent capitalist civilization, it’s all in service of the rhyme. The Atlanta band inherits its party ethic from a long line of fun music. Bright Lights, Fun City references a range of danceable pop antecedents, from acid house to old school hip-hop, from Krautrock to synth-pop, from the Beastie Boys to Happy Mondays, with a bit of Madness for good measure. There is more than a little Madchester here, if only because of Ben Coleman’s nasally, British vocals. When the album veers away from the relentlessly upbeat on tracks like “Bad Spell” and “Pop Up Widow”, which both have a darker new wave sound, it becomes less interesting.
Bright Lights, Fun City is fun. That might be all it is, but that’s ok. The almost nonsensical lyrics, which include a lot of references to chicken bones, go well with the mix of sounds. If you want to get a little crazy, you could do worse than to put on this record and let it do its work. All of Judi Chicago’s good time musical influences come together perfectly in the moment. When the moment’s over, the party ends, and, thankfully, there’s no nasty hangover.
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// Notes from the Road
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