BOY IN STATIC – CANDY CIGARETTE (FAKE FOUR / CIRCLE INTO SQUARE, 2009)

I am going back to April for this one, but this album is more than worth mentioning even as we creep towards the years end. Boy In Static is a San Francisco based avante-pop duo of Alexander Chen on the Sequencers/drum machines/keys and Kenji Ross playing violin. Loosely associated with the Bay Area post-hip-hop collective anticon through tours and production from members of 13 & God, Boy In Static play a slightly frozen blend of outsider pop, 80’s new wave rave ups and virtuoso musicianship. Chen’s Bryan Ferry-like vibrato gives the an air of sophistication to each tale of star crossed killers, wartime bachelors, birthdate numerology and the inevitability of fate. In almost every track Kenji Ross’s lilting violin lines steal the show from the programmed beats and ascending piano lines, layering each incredibly catchy pop tune with an irresistible pastiche of classical/pop experimentation. Chen and Ross craft something beautiful and intricate, their conservative group number seem to defy the fully realized grandiose sounds being pushed through the air on their third release. I know it sounds lame to talk about the hooks on a pop album, but seriously, the hooks. These are hooks in every sense of the word, meaning they keep you coming back for more and will not leave your head for days. I can’t tell you how many times I have returned to “Star Crossed Killer” or “Young San Francisco”. What came as a late surprise has become a fast staple in my required end of year listening and a comfortable autumn companion.

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