On some level, this is a crazy record produced by a guy who may be mad. On some other level, it's a work of genius, full of fresh, loopy tunes. Virgo's Maze by Part Time drops on Burger Records on Tuesday. It is, by turns, invigorating and perplexing. I simply do not have the vocabulary to describe what David Loca is doing here but I thank God that he's doing it, you know?
With a range of cuts on this double record that span genres, Loca has concocted what sounds like a friend's mix-tape of bands you never heard of from 3 decades ago. There are tunes here -- "The Cost of Living" -- that sound like those no-name one-off new wave bands that littered the soundtracks of John Hughes' competitors' films in the Eighties, and those that sound like earlier Yellow Pills-era power pop jams -- "Fallin' 4 U" -- put through a blender. Quite simply, this is (gloriously) schizophrenic music.
If "Honey Lips" is like Taco doing a leftover from the Bugsy Malone (1976) soundtrack, then "I Saw Her Standing There" sounds like Klaus Nomi rockin' out with Devo when they were still a punk band. Is that the Beatles song that Part Time is doing here? God only knows. It's a racket and I love it but I'm still not entirely sure if he has to pay royalties to McCartney for something so far removed from its source material.
"Strangest Eyes" is more straightforward and nods in the direction of both Hall and Oates and Human League. "Real Connection" adds in some seriously gorgeous keyboard washes -- think "Your Silent Face"-era New Order -- in the service of a sort of knock-off of the New Romantics.
Part Time -- really, David Loca -- runs the risk of alienating listeners with such an approach since one hardly has time to wrap one's head around a song before the style changes and things go in a new direction 3 minutes later. That said, this is also one of the most adventurous records I've heard in ages. If Young Guv had a bit more success updating some of these similar genres on his exemplary Ripe 4 Luv, Loca at least gets points for trying out more styles in rapid succession.
On a certain level, I think he's "taking the piss", as the Brits say. Still, that's okay. Loca may be having a goof but he's doing it with a great deal of musical wit. Virgo's Maze manages to be a set of 20 cuts that all seem like bastard versions of stuff you already heard as a teenager but it's also a set of 20 cuts that sound unlike anything else you're probably listening to at the moment.
In an altogether different genre, Warren Defever took a similar approach to various off-shoots of the 4AD sound to crank out a lot of short, concise pieces of affecting music. Loca here is a similar cannibal of genres and he breezes through each without getting mired down in the specifics of any.
I am, frankly, not too sure how many times Loca can pull off this feat but, for now, once is enough 'cause Virgo's Maze by Part Time is clearly one of the bravest, funnest records you'll hear in 2015.
Get it now cats and kittens via Burger Records.
Follow Part Time via the band's official Facebook page.