If you told me that Felicita’s Frenemies was recorded mainly using samples of helium balloons, rubber balls, and a flea-circus sound effects record, I might just believe you. This odd, captivating EP is a 19-minute blast of uncontrolled kinetic energy and sonic non-sequiturs; the individual pieces of its seven interlocking tracks collide and scatter like a game of jacks in zero gravity. It might be the boingiest thing you’ll hear all year.
Maybe one of the most cryptic, too. On a website accompanying the release, alongside an acrostic treatise on the physics of dropped tennis balls, or “falling doves,” there’s a strange sort of fashion editorial involving makeup brushes, a crimping iron, charm bracelets, glitter, purple freckles, a garden snail crawling across a young woman’s face, and, perhaps most confusingly, an oversized piece of pita bread worn like a falconer’s protective sleeve. Styled in a Palermo soccer jersey and staring intently at a magic tennis ball as elven sparks fly about her face, Tinkerbell style, the model comes across like a kind of Duchampian guerrilla for the age of Amazon reviews—a DIY warrior of the consumerist surreal.
If this all sounds a lot like Sophie, GFOTY, and the label/collective/phenomenon known as PC Music, that would seem not to be merely coincidental. According to a representative for Gum Artefacts, the new label responsible for this record, Felicita frequently DJs with PC Music’s A. G. Cook and even has his own project on that label, under a different, and undisclosed, name. One guess would be that it’s Lipgloss Twins, not just for the shared interest in cosmetics (and apparently snail facials are a real thing, by the way) but also the spring-loaded zaniness of both projects, with their holographic sheen and rhythms that ricochet like weaponized Flubber. Coincidence or no, Felicita’s warped pitch and funhouse-mirror atmospherics also bear a strong resemblance to the queasy textures of GFOTY’s “Secret Mix” and “Don’t Wanna / Let’s Do It”.
From the moment the needle hits the record—and yes, unlike most PC Music-related output so far, this one actually comes on vinyl, and bright yellow vinyl at that—it’s clear that this is a new world. A strange world, where the usual laws of physics don’t apply. “Doves” begins like crashing through the ceiling into a tearoom filled with rubber duckies. Chattering voices, sped up to a cartoonish jibber, give way to carousel melodies, nonsense chants, splashing water, clucking tongues. The music lurches to and fro in fits and starts, its motion alternately checked by percussive outbursts and lubricated by angelic coos. “Skip Blush” sounds like an audioanimatronic tribute to Derek Bailey that’s been hacked by conflicted poptimists. It’s all pings and squeaks and elastic little hiccups cribbed from a ruthlessly plastic universe, and it creaks like a set of braces being tightened. “Climb Up Eh” pairs Rapunzel-inspired spoken lyrics (“My hair is black, climb up it/ Come up to the window, climb up it”) with see-sawing slide flute melodies and cacophonous clacks and shrieks.
And that’s just the A-side: the B-side, equally thrilling and exhausting, manages to cover classical flute and brutalist 808 kicks (“When You Get Home”, one of the record’s highlights); mercurial sino-grime (“Wish”, sounding a little like Aphex Twin on really terrifying designer drugs); and erratic snare flam and mournfully plucked acoustic guitar (the closing “Bring It”, which suggests a copy of Tortoise‘s Rhythms, Resolutions & Clusters with a terminal case of bit rot). And then there’s “MMMHM”, an unsettling clusterfuck of fist-mashed synthesizers, glass-blown glissandi, and squeaky refrains (“Jiggle jiggle lick it!/ Jiggle jiggle lick it!”) that sound like a cheerleading squad come perilously unhinged. It is not a pleasant thing to listen to, exactly, but then, I’m not sure it’s supposed to be; neither was a lot of powerviolence, for example, and “MMMHM” may be just as confrontational, in its own, pipsqueak way. Here, instead of volume, unease is the primary weapon, and that goes for the entire record. It tickles and discomforts in equal measure—just like a snail tracing a glittery path up your cheek.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1x32VXl