Kristin Kontrol – “X-Communicate” (Singles Going Steady)

Kristin Welchez of Dum Dum Girls offers up a shamelessly fun '80s pastiche that transfigures a simple breakup decision into an after-dark occult ceremony.

Pryor Stroud: Lofted across an epileptic keyboard riff, fidgety electro-bass, and hypnotic, goth-synth atmospherics straight out of the Pet Shop Boys’ discography, “X-Communicate” is a shameless ’80s pastiche that transfigures a simple breakup decision into an after-dark occult ceremony. In the Madonna-mimicking chorus plea — “Should we excommunicate our love? / Or should we wait?” — Kontrol wrings out the title verb, hoists it upward and then lets it cascade down it front of her, as if the word itself, if pushed hard enough, offers a chance at redemption. [8/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Over a nice dance groove, Kontrol’s high pitched vocals really steal the show. The beat behind her may not be fancy or exotic, but it highlights Kontrol’s amazing command of pitch and melody as well as her pop-centric yet nuanced lyrics. The musicality of the song could be a bit more sophisticated, and the repetitious nature of “X-Communicate” dulls the sharp edge that Kontrol’s songwriting had in the beginning of the track. Still, it’s a decent pop dance tune with more personality and detail than most other songs in the genre are seriously lacking. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: When I first started listening to this, I asked my friend in whose kitchen I was sitting, “Why is everyone aping the 80’s all of a sudden?” He pointed out to me that it’s actually been happening for a while. So yes, I suppose that everything comes around again, no matter how much we try to fight it. To her credit, Kristin’s damn good at sticking to the Reagan-era playbook, with New Order guitar riffs, keening chorus hooks, and enough sequenced synths to choke Phil Oakey, It’s pretty, it’s melodic, it’s harmless, but is it something we really need? [6/10]

Morgan Y. Evans: The new solo project from Kristin Welchez deftly balances flirting with modern anthemic pop, but avoids any soulless pitfalls by keeping a thick smoke machine fog of future ’80s daydreams and indie cool heart pumping blood through this multi-faceted, healthy number. Certain to be the soundtrack to many organic minded folks this year trying to keep abreast of the times without turning into total androids. [6/10]

Chad Miller: Fun tune that feels wonderfully reminiscent of music of the past. Vocals in particular make me think of Madonna. And the soaring melody makes this track a exuberant ride from start to finish. [7/10]

Kristin Kontrol‘s album X-Communicate releases May 27th via Sub Pop Records. This is the new project from Kristin Welchez (aka Dee Dee, leader of Dum Dum Girls).

SCORE: 6.60