We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
You can’t blame electroclash kids for trying to distance themselves from that whole New Wave–revivalism thing. After all, look what it got the romo movement: a legacy indescribable without using the words “ill-fated,” “short-lived,” or even—gulp—“so-called.” It comes as no surprise, then, that comely French DJ/chanteuse Caroline Herve, formerly the feline half of the pioneering e-clash duo Miss Kittin & the Hacker, claims to have grown up in a house where Genesis and Supertramp were in heavy rotation. That may be true, but to judge from Miss Kittin’s latest long-player, I Com, Kraftwerk and Tom Tom Club must’ve gotten squeezed in chez Herve, too. Like those luminaries’ best albums, I Com comes on all cool and cerebral even as it takes steady aim at your pleasure center. In other words, this is one seriously slinky set: On “Kiss Factory,” Kittin offers her lucky boyfriend “2 kisses for the price of one” over a liquid synth riff and a string section that sounds lifted from some sublime but forgotten disco-era ditty. “I Come.com” finds her updating Kraftwerk’s man-machine ethos with eros, breathing heavily into such techno-Beat poetry as “I am titanium babe addicted child of your wireless Internet” and “You are the creator of my inner life network soundtrack”—lyrics that are just about guaranteed to drive geeky gameboys mad with robolust. And just in case Peaches thought she had the synths ’n’ sleaze market cornered, Kittin uses “Requiem for a Hit” to demonstrate exactly which diva once found employment as a pole dancer: “Um, excuse me? Uh, would you mind to…pump?” she asks, before entreating us to “Compress me or undress me/Equalize me finalize me/…And beat this bitch with a hit.” Elsewhere, powered in part by roughed-up guitars and feedback squalls, “Professional Distortion” puts the Clash in electroclash, and “Happy Violentine” makes like the best song on any of the past 50 Stereolab albums. “Switch me in a stand-by mode/Until someone presses play,” coos Kittin amid the latter’s synth squiggles and tick-ticking percussion. Derivative but as inescapably infectious as anything else on I Com, the track is no “Abacab,” that’s for sure. Beats the hell out of “The Logical Song,” though.