Wed Aug 29 2007
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
It’s a testament to the golden touch of British songwriter and producer Richard X (known for his work on Annie and Rachel Stevens hits) that when you’ve acquired a taste for his sound, you start looking for it obsessively. He coproduced a single track, “Slow It Down,” on Chungking’s Stay Up Forever, but it’s a corker. Pretty much identical in approach to Kylie Minogue’s “Slow” (Chungking: “I wanna dance / Slow, slow, slow”; Kylie: “Come on and dance with me / Yeah, slow”), but it nails everything the older song missed—it’s paced deliberately without being sluggish, and trades crappy electrominimalism for gleeful, almost histrionic drama. When a band improves on the Kylie formula, it’s on to something.
Stay Up Forever basically extends that treatment to a wide cross-section of British pop. Chungking, a duo from Brighton, England, has lifted the best elements from 30 years of Top of the Pops—Goldfrapp (“Love Is Here to Stay”), Siouxsie (the title track), ELO (“Baby”), John Barry (“Beautiful Inside”), Gary Glitter (“Know What You Mean”), etc.—and melded them into a chrome torpedo of an album.
The main caveat has nothing to do with derivativeness—pop lovers know this concept is as relevant to their preferred genre as “authenticity” or “real instruments.” Rather, it’s that you find yourself wishing for a bit more perversity. What makes Goldfrapp so endlessly addictive is the weirdness that lies underneath everything it does. Chungking’s appeal sticks to the surface—but it sure is a mighty shiny one.