Bangin’ Singles with LP Padding
As pop albums go, it’s sometimes necessary to lay out the elements you have before you: Dynasty Electric is an electro-pop duo from New York comprised of Jenny Electrik (vocals) and Seth Misterka (guitar/electronics). Their official website touts them as a mix between Jefferson Airplane, Madonna and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. An enticing combination no doubt, and yet on this, their self-titled fourth album, there seems to be a little less edge and a little more of an outright party vibe.
This of course is not a bad thing in and of itself. Some of the most life-affirming and culturally integral music made in the last fifty years has been designed to get you and your partner, lover or total stranger on that dancefloor. However, this album for the most part seems tailor-made for generic party calls like, “Play #6 on your iPod Party-Mix playlist.” There is little on here to stop you from sipping your beer to realize how much your hips are shaking or toe is tapping to the beat. It might be a codgerly criticism, but it was also frankly a little disappointing to hear all-too familiar pop lyrical themes and such outright clichés throughout the album.
The record does have some definite bright points however, as opener “Oasis” sets a mood quite different to the rest of the album. Even though it has all the trimmings of conventional radio pop, the lyrics are less paint-by-numbers as other instances on the album, and the haunting vocals set the listener in a little bit of an unusual place for a pop album of this ilk. It’s a strong and sensual opener with Electrik bringing a unique presence to the track.
The other high points are predictably the singles, “Electric Love” and “Eyes Wide Open.” The former is probably the closest to what Dynasty Electric was going for in terms of a signature sound on this record. Yeah Yeah Yeah’s drummer Brian Chase makes a guest appearance to lend the proceedings a nice kick (pun intended) to this excellent, pop-ready track. “Eyes Wide Open” is somewhat the opposite of its sister single, as its minimalistic backing of the mournful vocal recalls a mid-90’s Madonna (say, Bedtime Stories-era) and provides a nice moment to bring the party down to a slow-motion bump. It’s plainly apparent both these tracks required and received more care than many of the others, and that’s just fine when everything is taken into account.
Both the highs and lows of Dynasty Electric are unmistakable, and really even though the lows (the silly, tongue-in-cheek “Jet Plane” springs to mind) are fairly low, you would probably be better suited chalking them up to a lack of inspiration than a lack of talent. While the inspired moments are there and worth hearing, they also make the rest of the album somewhat frustrating to sit through. But hey, why are you sitting? Don’t overthink it: Just down your beer and bust a move.