This is the thing with these revivals. You have to take the bad with the good. For every inspired British post-punk act coming across the Atlantic, there’s a farty 80s synth-soul group wanting to revive the geri-curl. 33hz’s self-titled debut is the latter–reviving sultry Afro-fusion disco hits, this group of (white) men reach for Prince’s purple apex. Unfortunately, while adept at creating soul music in its most literate form, 33hz lacks the genre’s defining essence.
You can see the packed sports car of well-dressed club-goers race to the hottest meat-market, racing under urban lights at the onset of “If You Want Me,” the album’s first track. Like Canadian duo Chromeo, 33hz is part of a potentially ironic sub-genre that could be serious or novelty and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea. The genre hasn’t aged well since it’s inaugural run in the 70s and 80s, making it difficult to reproduce respectfully today, even in a time where androgyny is about as widely accepted as ever. Trying to get a serious reaction when you’re wearing purple velvet is a tough sell, and 33hz are merchants unsuccessfully peddling their wares.
Moments of promise peek through at times–”Digital Lover” is a loveable guilty pleasure, and there are instances when the group concentrate their funk with a little modern electro-pop and clash. But even 33hz’s finest moments are incredibly short-sighted, and this album has a long shot at time-tested notoriety.
But I guess, who cares? It’ll get bought by a car company, wind up in a commercial and these guys can buy all the product they want. Meanwhile, we get to further stroke our humiliating love of cheesy 80s culture. For what? As is almost always the case, if you’re feeling froggy you’d be better served sussing the innovators instead of the imitators, as 33hz is just too flat to bump the bass line. Of course, if this is all a joke, then it doesn’t matter anyway.