I'm at my favorite coffee shop, trying to study...but since their manager seems determined to force feed me the beige production and uninspired melodies of the new Madonna record, it seems like it's the perfect time to talk about some decent music. Namely Kap Bambino's new record, "Devotion".
"Devotion" is the third record by this Bordeaux, France based electronic duo, and definitely their strongest. I've always liked Kap Bambino, but it always seemed that while their slightly darker take on the Crystal Castles "boy plays synth pop keys while girl screams" digital hardcore was very interesting, the albums always felt like a couple really good songs with a bunch of filler that was more or less boring versions of the stronger tracks. This was definitely the case on 2006's Zero Life Night Vision, with most of the tracks being good but lesser versions of the standout, "New Breath". 2009's "Blacklist" saw some expansion on their formula, adding more variety to Orion Bouvier's synth work and a slightly more melodic approach from singer Caroline Martial. This lead to some awesome moments over the course of the album's 12 songs, but it still felt a bit like a really strong ep with some filler in between.
Enter "Devotion", where the band has maintained their sound while further expanding on their ability to produce aggressive dance music grimy, gothy, beautiful, aggressive, noisy and melodic. Album opener "Resistance Alpha" starts things off by showing a new side of Kap Bambino right off the bat...a simple synth hook and rasped melodies that occasionally descend into noisy chaos with a deftness and subtly that the band hadn't before achieved. Next up, lead single, "Obsess" shows Kap Bambino's ability to out-Adult Adult and keeps with the Dead Lazers style they have been known for. As the album continues, the band introduce a variety of tempos, slowing things down, speeding everything up and carefully choosing when to let the whole thing fall apart in noisey synth soundscapes. Standouts include the slow to start "Devotion", synth hook filled "Next Resurrection", the grimy down tempo "Rise" and the melodic synthpop of "Under Tender". But that's not to sell the rest of the record short. Cuz it's strong from start to finish.