Friday, September 19, 2014

Report to the Dance Floor : Alice Sungurov 's "So Blind(C)

If you are old enough to remember a time when dance music didn't have to sound like robots vomiting during sex or you frequent 80's night at you recall when in days post-disco and pre-Rave Til Dawn, when dance floors bumped with actual bands playing real instruments. New York's Alice Sungurov harkens back to a more organic time. If you are a slave to D.j.'s then you might not get it and truth be told it's much happier than my normally listening, but there is something very curiously unique about what this youngster is doing.

 There is a ska influenced air of new wave, not unlike what would have been pumping out of CBGB'S in the mid-80's. Gwen Stefani is what you might be thinking from that description, but there are elements of 50's girl group pop...think Grease, mixed with angular synths that would sound at home on a Blondie album. Her punchy alto falls slightly short of the Runaways in attitude. The twist given the effects at certain point of time are really the only that even keeps it in the same ball park as Katy Perry. Fun pop punk, would imply a likeness to Avril Lavigne, but Alice's vibe is more than dawn of Mtv than it's late 90's death throes.

The puzzling thing is how did a girl her age stumble into this sound? More than likely Lil' Ms. Sungurov is too young to have heard the Vapor's song "Turning Japanese", so the similarities are part of the collective consciousness. Sungurov recently took a trek around India to study yoga, so transcendental meditation is not far behind. If you have ever read David Lynch's book "Catching the Big Fish" the surreal film maker denies being an avid drug user like his films suggest and actually derived his weird creative streak via transcendental meditation. So Alice could have tapped into something deeper here or it could just be a fun song.

 This song could easily be mixed in on an 80's night, so if you are going to dismiss this as pop at least it gets filed under 80's pop like Madness and Cyndi Lauper, who also had a 50's girl group vibe going on with the song "She-bop". Madness and Cyndi Lauper bring us around full circle to No Doubt, and this is despite her appearance not as bubble gum as "Tragic Kingdom", but not quiet rock.

If this collage of comparisons has you confused then click on the song below and it will all make more sense. Truth be told it took me a few listens to really get what is going on here, so don't dismiss her as another kid with too many You-Tube views, she has a knack for songwriting and hopefully stays on this path to 1982.

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