Studio Killers, by Studio Killers
Suggested by Lea Syme
Studio Killers don’t exist.
Well, I guess they do exist, but not in a tangible, touchy-feely, “can I have your autograph” sense. Because Studio Killers are an animated band.
This isn’t a new thing, of course, for life in general or for the project. Gorillaz are likely the archetypal example of an animated band, the heady collaboration between artist Jamie Hewlett and musician Damon Albarn, with four animated band members 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel Hobbs. However, there’s precious little information about the creative forces behind electropop-dance act Studio Killers, aside from their heritage: they’re a Finnish-Danish-British act. The band’s virtual members are singer Chubby Cherry, keyboardist Goldie Foxx, DJ Dyna Mink, and manager Bipolar Bear.
The true identities behind these characters are unpublished, which is a pleasing conceit. I enjoy a little mystery, and the musical Banskyism behind Studio Killers and the Australian band This Is Serious Mum (TISM) leads to fun speculation on fan forums. It’s posited that Chubby Cherry, or Cherry, is voiced by Finnish singer Teema Brunilla, but who knows?
Musically, Studio Killers embrace the bright and breezy of well-formed electropop in fine style. The synths are bouncy throughout the album, the vocals are dreamlike yet accessible, and always exultant. The bass guitar is wonderfully thumping, and the electronic filigree never detracts from the overall sound.
Thinks kick off with my standout song, Ode to the Bouncer, a semi-spoken track that chronicles Cherry’s attempts to gain ingress to a nightclub while being rebuffed by the overzealous bouncer. It’s a fizzing song with cool credentials, and a varied vocal performance that’s multi-faceted. The faux-street almost-rapped verse has tiny hints of female urban grime, and the lyrics are both intelligent and quirky. My favourite is the glorious cribbing of “All in all, you’re just another prick at the door,” although there’s a lot to be said for the preceding verse of “It’s futile to debate / With St Peter at the gate / Made of protein milkshake / And low carb intake.”
Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to this auspicious start. There are some great tracks here, in particular the wonderful Jenny, a track that’s either a love story of two friends finding each other or a rather alarming tale of a predatory lesbian, depending on your mood and blood sugar level when you hear it. All Men Are Pigs is another great tune, which tackles the grimy club dating scene. And In Tokyo is another stellar effort, reminiscent of a modernised Art of Noise. Outside of these, though, there’s a touch of sameness about the sounds, but I do feel that repeated listens would help distinguish the others in the grand scheme.
Studio Killers is a happy album, with full songs and a clear energy that’s always infectious. I give it 7/10, with an expectation that this score could rise with further examination. Not bad for a bunch of cartoons.