33hz – 33hz

33hz33hz (Outlook)

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.

7 thoughts on “33hz – 33hz”

  1. A. 33hz is not from England, they are from Brooklyn, NY.

    B. If you think Post-punk is inspired, well I’m afraid there is no help for you. If thats the kind of music you like try picking up an Album by a little band called Television, maybe you’ve heard of them.

    C. No one in the band has ever worn Purple Velvet.

    D. 33hz’s music can only be considered “80’s” in the broadest possible sense, in that music of that era was neither “white” nor “black” only, good or bad. You are welcome to think that it is bad, but saying that it’s retro-retread is intellectualy lazy, and demonstrates a serious lack of musical knowledge.

  2. i gotta say, its funny how when a band lifts gang of four, joy division, or the jam (all “80s music” incedentally) , it is universally lauded, yet when a white band’s influences include classic black music it is regarded as “novelty” or a “joke”. think about it.. one has to wonder whether the idie rock cabal of music writers reviewers even acknowledges the existence of pop and soul as they continue to flail around in a sea of trite and untterly unrebellious punk rock.

  3. To say that you are full of shit would be an insult to shit. This is an amazing record, you obiously just dislike anything that isn’t over-wrought guitar posturing. It’s extremely white of you to point out that this band is white, to use the term geri-curl as a derogatory term, to say that this record lacks soul, and finally to imply that when white people create soul music it must be some kind of ironic exercise. There is simply no other band out there making anything like this and frankly the world could use a little more joy and a little less of your sour-pussed guitar-wanking cry-babies. So there. . .

  4. Anyone else find it hilarious that people assume that anybody who doesn’t like lame r&b must be into “over-wrought guitar posturing”? Too funny. Yeah, check out Mantzouranis’ enthusiastically positive reviews of the latest albums from Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen. Ha!

  5. I find you’re presumption hi-larious, sir! Those two artists you refer to, disparigingly, do not “pose” with their guitars, they play the shit out of them very quickly. Nor are they “over-wrought”. They are not the emotional wankers to which I was referring. That honor belongs to, among many others that Mantzouris certainly apprectiates, Coldplay, Bloc Party, The Bravery, etc. etc. Beside neither Vai or Malmsteen have realeased albums in years, so ha HA on you Sir!

  6. I thought it was a nice compliment to say the music would probably be purchased by a car company.

  7. What’s your problem with g-curls and purple velvet? This critique had more to say about the fashions and racial divisions of a particular era’s music rather than reviewing this album. In my humble opinion, it’s obvious the reviewer feels guilty/afraid about actually enjoying good pop music and possibly losing his/her “indie/street cred”.

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