Pikachunes is the stage name of New Zealander Miles McDougall. His self-titled debut album is full of simple, hook-based electronic dance songs. The tracks here are simple and catchy, generally laying down a beat and a bass line, and building a couple of synth lines around it. McDougall’s vocals provide most of the variety in the songs, depending on his melodies or when he chooses to drop his voice in or out.
Pikachunes has a lot to recommend it. McDougall’s tracks are a lot of fun. He has an ear for a melodic hook, and occasionally gets off a strong lyric, like the perils of electronic music fame in “Nervous”, the circular “Just a Boy”, or “Metronome”, which rhymes “metronome” with “crumple zone” to funny, weird effect. On the other hand, his vocal delivery, synth sound choices, and rock-influenced song structures are highly reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem. A lot of whether or not a listener will dig this album may depend on how high their tolerance is for what sounds an awful lot like a solid, but less creative and less funny, LCD knockoff. McDougall may indeed have enough musical skill to eventually develop his own identity, but it’s hard to listen to Pikachunes and not hear James Murphy’s influence.