Dark Party: Light Years
Old Tacoma Records

Light Years won't cure cancer, nor will it engender world peace. What its fifty minutes will do, however, is bring multiple hours of pleasure to listeners hep to Dark Party's fresh, electro-funk vibe. The joint brainchild of Tacoma-raised, Brooklyn-based Eliot Lipp (well-known for releases on Eastern Developments, Hefty, and his own Tacoma Records) and Chicago-based producer Leo 123 (who's previously contributed to Lipp's work in a production role), the group followed its 2005 formation with remix work for the likes of Daedelus and Jogger prior to issuing the seriously stoked debut album Light Years. What you'll hear are twelve slamming tracks rooted in funk, house, and hip-hop that resemble some mutant synths-and-beats spawn of Daft Punk, Mantronix, and Jimmy Edgar. Creamy analogue synthesizers, vocoder effects, chopped vocal samples, and tight beats rave in tracks that commendably stick to within the three- to four-minute range.

“Patrol Patrol” flirts with ‘80s-styled B-boy moves as it mixes shout-outs, surging chords, and police radio transmissions into a heady party-time jam, while the later “Feets” works a similar vibe in its rolling beats and dizzying swirl. “Pilot” likewise resurrects a classic ‘80s dance beat as fuel for its fire, while “Tonight” weaves multiple vocal fragments into ululating counterpoint when it's not generating electro-funk blaze. About as deep as head-nod gets, “Flats” digs into its slamming groove, synth smears, and soul vocals with so much force the effect verges on delirious. The album's sole restrained episode arrives at disc's end when “Cab Weather” guides the listener out on a wave of plaintive synthesizer melodies and downtempo beats. On production grounds, Light Years holds nothing back. The cymbal strikes in “Tina,” for example, are less crashes than detonations, and the tune's snares also sound capable of toppling small buildings. Though it's a tad earthier, Dark Party's material isn't light years removed from Lipp's Tacoma Mockingbird, so anyone who cottoned to his solo work will probably love the new material just as much.

November 2010