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Delirious With Weird

Tuesday, May 25, 2004  
On Stylus Today
Felix Da Housecat
Devin Dazzle & The Neon Fever

High-concept is the only way to go in dance music these days; perhaps filesharing/downloading has eaten our concentration spans to such an extent that we can’t take 45 minutes of one genre at a time. Or maybe it was the drugs… Plus who actually goes to clubs these days? Last I heard they’d all been replaced by school discos. It’s all house parties and poncey bars round here. Either way it’s a good job that enough people are producing schizo-eclectic hyper-concept retro-futurist beat-fuckery that it’s becoming a genre all of it’s own; think Basement Jaxxx, “Galang”, LCD Soundsystem, A Grand Don’t Come For Free (even if you can’t dance to it), Missy Elliott, !!!, “Toxic”, JC Chasez, even Junior Boys. Hell, think bloomin’ Outkast if you must (but you’d be wrong). Dance music is the new dance music, as long as it’s spannered apart into tiny bits and stuck together again seemingly at random. And played at the wrong speed. With guest vocals by someone from The Sisters Of Mercy (the bassist will do, at a push).

Felix Da Housecat has been painting House grooves since 1987, when he was only a wee nipper of 15, and he’s been rocking this high-concept shit for years too; his albums always seem to play as if he’s soundtracking comedy-techno-thriller sequels to Sweet Sweetback’s Badassss Song or Cleopatra Jones, putting glide in peoples stride. Devin Dazzle & The Neon Fever is no different, the Dazzle character supposedly representing Felix’s spiritual side or something, a cool cat addicted to nightclubs, and The Neon Fever being either some kind of crazy dancetastic illness or else another character who may or may not be a ghost or something or possibly five women who Devin/Felix may or may not be sleeping with in a bordello above a Turkish restaurant in Detroit. Or something.

Hyper-concept pseudo-narratives aside, Devin Dazzle is, in a word, shocking, where shocking = rocking and rocking = danceable and danceable = nuts and nuts = 80s kitsch-sex-funk-house-new-wave-punk-disco. And so, across fifteen tracks over 48 minutes (meaning they are fast and short and rocking), Felix Da Housecat leads us by the hand (or crotch, perhaps) through rubbery LCD Soundsystem-esque disco-punk (“What She Wants”) and Italo-house tunes about being a robot who wants to be a human (“Neon Human”) and sweaty electroclash about having rocket boots (is there any other kind? – “Rocket Ride”) and weird 80s sex-funk-synth jams with scary lyrics like “lips are shaking / zip up your fly” (“Hunting Season”), and it’s all, frankly, far too much to deal with but spectacular all the same. Bonkers, where bonkers = great.


5/25/2004 07:23:00 am


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005