Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Felix Da Housecat 

Kittenz and Thee Glitz (Cube/Emperor Norton)

Early electro, the '80s rap cousin that helped spawn both synth-pop and techno, was kinda clumsy. Infectious and freaky, yes, but because of the nature of the early beatboxes, the primal stuff -- Newcleus, the Jonzun Crew, Soulsonic Force -- lumbered along with the agility of Frankenstein. Complex rhythmic momentum was difficult to create, and the relatively rudimentary circuitry made said momentum hard to maintain.

But electro has evolved, and although it's moved in and out of favor, the past half-decade has seen a gradual resurgence. It's huge in Europe, and the classics are being reissued stateside.

Felix Da Housecat's exuberant new record, Kittenz and Thee Glitz, peppers its electro with Chicago house and Detroit techno, and the result is a giddy amalgam. Its beats -- agile, greasy thumps and handclaps -- serve as a heavenly bed over which French vocalist Miss Kittin charms her suitors with a straight face and a monotonal glee: "Happy hour, sun shower, 808s give you power," she sings on "Happy Hour," and although she curbs her enthusiasm -- she's not your typical Chicago house diva -- her understated, dry delivery is still sensual and celebratory.

It's hard to tell, though, where irony ends and homage begins, tough to determine whether the record's a deliberately superficial meta-party platter or whether it's just a big dumb celebration of dance-floor joy.

But it doesn't matter. Glitz is a hoot. The record explodes with cheesy synthesizer melody plinks and beatbox plonks, laser-gun textures and an over-the-top drama that, on perfect Kittinless instrumentals such as "Magic Fly" and "Control Freaq," creates a specific kind of synthetic elation. When Kittin, who has her own record out with the Hacker called The First Album, wonders, "What does it feel like feel like, to feel like a socialite?" you can hear a traces of both sociological curiosity and envy in her voice. Or does she just want to get paid? It's hard to tell, and harder to care, because the record's more fun when you forget about the analysis and concentrate on the bliss.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Speaking of...

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 9, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation