November 30, 2004

So L'il "Revolution Thumpin'"

Remember when, in the late Nineties, cultural pundits declared electronica the next big thing?

Yeah, I'm sure you're reminded constantly about that. I just had to bring that up, though.

Revolution Thumpin', the debut full-length from So L'il reminds me of those times, but not in a bad way.

So L'il is an electronic band, but you won't be hearing them at the next rave you might hypothetically go to, nor will your local IDM hipster be down with their groove. Revolution Thumpin' is not an album of repetitive dance grooves that you have to be on narcotics in order to appreciate for more than half an hour straight, and it's certainly not full of boring blip-bloopy noise that you'll have to pretend to like in order to make people think you have discriminating taste. Instead, So L'il has created a sophisticated electronic record, but with enough pop elements to keep it digestable. It's a great mishmash of pop, psychedelia, and trip-hop that pays homage to many of the great electronic acts of the '90s. It has the indiepop vibe of Land of the Loops, the rough sensuality and inventiveness of Tricky, and the funkiness of classic Massive Attack. Revolution Thumpin' certainly brings back to the days of the late '90s before hipsterdom almost totally spoiled electronic music for me.

Of course, some might think that my description of So L'il makes them sound like a cheap throwback to the past. Well, isn't most of today's electronic music just stuffed with '80s nostalgia? Anyway, rather than being a knock-off of the '90s sound, So L'il is picking up where they left off, trying to bring electronic music back in the direction it was going before '80s nostalgia and IDM took over. If you still think that they're just a cheap homage, the merits of the music itself prove otherwise. So L'il's beats are dope, both the male and female vocals are well done, and they do an excellent job at varying their musical arrangements and making every song sound different. Besides that, they manage to give songs titles like "I'm Bored, Wanna Fuck" and "Fuck Them Hordes of Aliens" and still come off as sophisticated.

If you think electronic music has gone too far back and needs to move forward a decade, So L'il are your new heroes.

--Eric Wolf

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