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.