Compgeekgirl, South of Mainstream, 1 mars 2004

I’ve been listening to this album on and off for over a month. In fact, this disc is thus far the one I’ve had to listen to the most before feeling capable of writing a review that would do it justice. This was a hard review. Look at the rating and you’ll see that the difficulty didn’t have anything to do with a less than stellar listen. This is an invasive and infectious listen that I felt I needed to really research (listen to often) to be able to write a sound review.

How to describe the overall sound? Well, it isn’t the blues, let me get that straight first and foremost. It’s instead a comglomerate of vast and varied electronic styles, mixing together to create a sound mixture that’s always fresh and interesting, never too much of that same beat or blip. And it’s more still, as some of these electronically created tunes definitely rock. And it’s a one man show, making it all the more impressive. Todd Drootin stands tall and delivers a diverse and driven listen.

I found the first couple of tracks a little listless, though quite listenable, with moments that drew me in, like the rolling rhythmic sound of See You In Tokyo which segues into some bloops and blips that would make the Art of Noise proud. She’s Dead To Me is a frantic, energetic onslaught of dysfunctional, but downright cool electronic noise.

I really got into the album around the sixth track, Girls Up Front, which has the sort of soulful female backing vocal samples that you might expect on a Fat Boy Slim project, along with a cool rolling rhythm punched up with faster rhythmic punches. Death In the Sex Shop is much harder, faster and more raw, with a definite frantic appeal. This song should be gracing an extreme sport video rather than some of the sycophantic emo/power pop punk currently holding that honor. Siberian Soundsystem brings to mind Ministry, KMFDM and early Orgy. It’s very dark, but still has an infectious pace. Frisson is also dark, but instead of frantic energy it’s appeal is it’s somber, sedate delivery.

You’d think the mish-mash of sounds would prove distracting, but they don’t. This is one of those albums that has you sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what the next song will do, how it will “feel”. Will it be another dark and dangerous offering, or an indie-electronic wonder that will get your ass out of the seat and on your feet.

This is the kind of disc you need at your older 20-something/early 30-something party. It will get your guests away from the snack table and cause them to hover around the stereo wanting to know who this is, what the next song will sound like, and where they can get a copy.

… an indie-electronic wonder that will get your ass out of the seat and on your feet.