Felix da Housecat – Devin Dazzle and the Neon Fever

One year after his much acclaimed electroclash comeback Kittenz and Thee Glitz, Felix (real name Felix Stallings) once again pays tribute to his fellow producers and performers in the title of his new album Devin Dazzle and the Neon Fever.

Despite sounding like something you might catch if you drank the water in Bollywood, the Neon Fever and Devin Dazzle certainly lend a different if still unmistakably “Felix” tone to this album- especially after his acrimonious split with Ms Kittin. New recruit Devin coupled with the old guard of Tommi Sunshine Dave the Hustler ensure that very little of the now-defunct electroclash sound have all but disappeared. However their time machine still appears to be in fine working order and has this time taken them back from their eighties-themed efforts into the realm of New York seventies disco funk, his own brand of electronica and… shhhhhhh, whisper it… guitars.

Sounding like a sexually ambiguous Scissor Sisters track, the opening two tracks use this new found toy excessively, with their funkalicious 70’s riffs seemingly lifted straight out of Saturday Night Fever without even having taken their white flares off. As the album moves on the classic and oh-so-cool Felix lyrics permeate every song; giving the impression that everyone he knows smokes like James Dean and only drinks cocktails made in an upturned top hat. Although this can get a tad cheesy all the way through there’s nothing quite so good to get ready to as “Everyone Is Someone in LA,” perhaps best described as the new “Silver Screen Shower Scene.”

Sounding like an even more sexually ambiguous Scissor Sisters track, “Hunting Season” does exactly what it says on the tin and exposes a darker, more explicit side to the album, whilst still remaining firmly tongue in cheek. It also brings with it a shock to the release- a catchy melody. These have become quite a scarcity this time round, with only “Ready 2 Wear” and “Romantique” providing hum along moments, but certainly not as good as any present in Kittenz & Thee Glitz. In fact the whole sound of the album is far more clustered and confused than his previous melody-driven hook-fest. There are perhaps a few songs that take a little too much from his prior effort too, “She’s so D*amn Cool” for example, owes more than a little to “Runaway Dreamer.”

However, one epithet that would be hard to level at this album would be ‘boring.’ A new sound or effect seems to be heard on every track and you get the impression that Felix and his cohorts certainly know what all the buttons do in their studios – yes, even those little fiddly ones at the back. If you’re looking for a repeat of his last work then you had better look elsewhere, however if something more akin to Ladytron is what you’re after you won’t go far wrong here- a pretentiously fun album- if a little too much of mish-mash.

(Rykodisc)