Kevin Robinson has already made his name as one half of dream-pop duo Viva Voce and the countrified Blue Giant, and he’s got enough cultural currency saved up to indulge in whatever idea or genre strikes his fancy. But would anyone guess that would mean ’80s-style electro-pop anthems? Sure, synthesized ripples run through the background of most Viva Voce recordings, but they’ve never sounded as kitschy.
What’s not apparent is just how seriously to take Electric Ill. Although Robinson and his partner for this venture, vocalist Ragen Fykes, throw themselves into these lovingly crafted mall-pop jams with aplomb, there’s a whiff of irony to the project. Robinson now insists on being referred to as Kaylee Rob, and press materials boast that Twisted Light “could shake the current electronic-driven music scene.” That’s a stretch, but the EP does provide some dance-floor smiles along the way. Robinson lays heavily on the vocoder to complement Fykes’ cooing vocals on the booming and sexy “Rock for You,” and he hits the falsetto hard and surprisingly well on the disco funk “Goodbye to the Old Life.”
I prefer to think of
Electric Ill as a lark for Robinson. But if this is the start of a new
direction for the newly named artist, he certainly has a fine foundation
to build on.
HEAR IT: Electric Ill’s Twisted Light is for sale at amorephonics.com.