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Psapp - The Camelís Back

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Artist: Psapp

Album: The Camelís Back

Label: Domino

Review date: Mar. 10, 2009

ďHell-o ó itís the í90s!Ē was an expression of comic incredulity my ex used to toss around from time to time as a means of illustrating the distance between the grim Aughts and the flirty insouciance of the previous decade. Now, I find it nicely summarizes the rampant culture-jacking occurring everywhere from television to film to records like Psappís The Camelís Back.

Remember Combustible Edison? Bet you havenít thought about them in a while. In the í90s, they rode the crest of an extremely brief lounge revival, which, if memory serves me right, fell somewhere between the ska resurrection and the swing ďcraze.Ē Great Britainís Psapp mightíve fit in well then, when the Cardigans were still coy and Monica Lewinski was just another student at Santa Monica College.

Maybe thatís why I enjoy The Camelís Back Ė my own youth is back there, crystallized in amber and temporarily freed by Psappís infectious electro-glee. Psappís core duo of singer Galia Durant and production whiz Carim Classman have the whole retro-bossa-indie-motorik thing totally figured out. Itís easy to be swept along by Durantís warm yet remote vocal melodies and Classmanís deft use of electronics, toy instruments and Ė hell-o Ė brass and exotica percussion.

Psappís effervescent arrangements leave nothing to chance, never missing a musical punchline. You can practically hear the in-studio wink-winking and nudge-nudging. All of the tunes are perfectly agreeable, like sharing a picnic with a nice-looking freckled gal who really digs your suede loafers. Let the Goth kids brood, the wiggers wig Ė Psapp is for lovers.

Itís probably not easy to take seriously a band heard on Grayís Anatomy, but who says we have to? If The Camelís Back is just an elaborate in-joke, itís still a pretty good one, and certainly on par with my exís. Which is to say itís fine for a lark, but you can leave the tikis in the attic where they belong.

By Casey Rae-Hunter

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