The Musical Schizophrenia of Dynasty Electric
The Brooklyn-based duo has a sound and sensibility that pays homage to many well-established artists: trip-hoppers Portishead, some Blondie new wave, the synthpop of Goldfrapp, and a Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ post-punky rebellion. They’re also sporting showy getups that cross disco glitter, raw-around-the-edges punk, and the feathery psychadelia of Woodstock. The overall effect is a vaudeville of sound and sight that doesn’t stand out from its many genres, but is still enjoyable for all its recognizable roots.
Their latest album, Golden Arrows, was actually recorded in Woodstock with producer Ski Beatz, who’s worked with luminaries like Jay-Z. Released on BluRoc Records, the album features a mix of dance-friendly beats and catchy hooks that are unapologetically frivolous and densely packed with electronic production.
Lead singer Jenny Electrik (also known by her maiden name of DeVeau) and instrumentalist Seth Misterka began in 2003, releasing their first album, Black Box, in 2004. They’ve enjoyed success with shows here and overseas, as well as appearances on MTV and Much Music. They’ve recently been playing plenty of live gigs to promote Golden Arrows, and from all accounts, Ms. Electrik is a consummate performer. Live show photos have her sweat-soaked and mixing with the audience, with an energy I can’t even muster for 5 minutes in a row, much less an entire music set. This must make the sound so much more satisfying than a plain, old iPod listen.
Her voice has a hyper-produced Lady Gaga quality suitable for dance music, but there are also moments where it slips into something more real and moody. There’s some hip-hop blended with the electronic drone, and a punk-pop influence can also be heard on a few older tracks, which feature Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase.
The thing about music that is so heavily reminiscent of other bands is that it’s hard for them to come along and unseat their predecessors in terms of sound or originality. Though I don’t think Dynasty Electric is busting through any genres or improving on what’s come before it, the songs are fun and danceable, and that’s what summer is all about.
To get more music from Dynasty Electric, or for upcoming shows, please check out www.dynastyelectric.net.