Masterful techno producer buffs up his pop chops on new collaboration
Norwegian producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm’s thrilling space disco is endlessly versatile. On 2008’s Where You Go I Go Too, it stretched out for psychedelic miles. On recent Prins Thomas collaboration II, it contorted into prog and funk. And on Real Life is No Cool, with vocalist Christabelle (familiar to fans as Solale from a couple Lindstrøm singles), it compresses into baroque electronic pop.
Much fizz is generated between synth sequences and instrumentation like glassy piano chords and prickly, palm-muted guitar. Christabelle’s vocals were shaped in live jams, and it shows in their engaging spontaneity. Over the spring-wound disco swagger of “Looking for What,” a cut-up chorus of reversed Christabelles settles into club-diva murmuring, which in turn gives way to a tense vocal performance that splits the difference between PJ Harvey and The Knife. “Keep it Up” gleams like a lost New Wave classic. Real Life is No Cool is a tasteful take on the edgier side of ’80s pop radio—like the lucid oddities of Kate Bush—but with a dash of classic soul.