Starfucker Jupiter

[Badman; 2009]

Styles: indie-electro, dance, pop
Others: Black Kids, a happier M83, Passion Pit

Almost anyone can be a laptop pop star these days. More than at any other time, we are faced with an overabundance of artists who think they know how to turn a few synth beats into something new and listenable. These are the musicians playing your local clubs, hunched over an iBook, bellowing distorted fun-house vocals into a microphone as their bandmate twists a knob here or hits a few keys on a Casio SK-1 there. But even when the music hits the spot, only a few are actually doing something that’s also worth watching (the glowing apple on your iBook does not by itself make an engaging light/stage show). Much rarer are the artists who are extraordinarily entertaining to see live and who are making music you’d actually want to listen to on your own time.

Just in time for spring, Portland's Starfucker have proven they are worthy of inclusion in that rare group of bands that have both the onstage chops and the studio know-how to give you what you want. And it certainly helps that they don't actually use laptops! Coming less than a year after the quartet’s self-titled debut (and on a label usually more closely associated with poet-songwriters and gentle folk songs), Jupiter is 26 minutes of thoroughly road-tested, crowd-approved, indie-electro gems by folks who know how to do it right.

The record starts off with the one-two punch of "Medicine" and "Boy Toy," two warm, super hook-filled numbers — the latter of which repeats “in my lungs” over and over again as (according to main man Josh Hodges) a “metaphor for the lung cancer that is romance.” Starfucker’s sound immediately strikes the ears as a far less icy Ladytron mixed with The Teenagers — both the French electro-outfit and, as evidenced by Mr. Hodges hyperbolic, yet sweetly morbid love metaphor, people of that age group. The band’s treatment of ’80s classic "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" has all the elements that made Fun Boy Three's 1983 version of "Our Lips Are Sealed" a pop gem. It's true to the original, but the male vocals add a ramped up, irresistibly campy quality.

Each track on Jupiter would fit well on a mix tape alongside electro-classics like Air's "Sexy Boy." Considering how quickly the computer has become the common man's instrument of choice, Starfucker prove that, in the right hands, it can still be irresistible.

1. Medicine
2. Boy Toy
3. Dance Face 2000
4. Bed-Stuy (Super Cop)
5. Biggie Smalls
6. Girls Just Want To Have Fun
7. Jupiter
8. Tawnald Gregory Erickson The Second (Strategy Remix)

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