The ubiquity of the male, Euro-centric dance-electronic duo is almost a joke in the ever-so-self-aware music world, at this point. Obviously, the roll-call is impressive, even up to recent times, so it’s generally hard to write them off in the same manner as, say, the all-male indie band. However, Russell Crank and David Cox, aka autoKratz, on first impression, (first impression being self-consciously Shoreditch guy replete with carefully cultivated facial hair who lets his smaller, wannabe, bald mate tag along) look to be an almost laughable caricature of the genre, despite being the wrong kind of Euro for dance acts (i.e., English). Even so, their debut mini-album, Down & Out in Paris & London set the usual blogs alight and whetted appetites for their first album proper, Animal.
Indeed, autoKratz’ signing to that bastion of French hipness and insouciance, Kitsune Music, says much about what their sound will be, and opening track ‘Always More’ doesn’t disappoint in this sense. All bubbling disco bass, electro breakdowns and Tiga vocals, it’s an enjoyably faceless indie disco floorfiller. The driving ‘Stay The Same’ has much the same effect, enough repetition for the dance kids, pumping enough so that the indie kids feel like they’re being cutting edge.
Sadly, in the style of many a pop album, the first two tracks are by far the most stand-out. In a sea of generic electro-indie, the bleepy pumping beats of ‘Can’t Stand Without’ and big house sound of ‘What You Want, What You Got?’ are stand-outs; good clean fun, but by no means original. Similarly, the blatantly Daft Punk and Justice-indebted ‘Gone Gone Gone’, a collage of computer game sounds and relentless-yet-melodic bpm, is highly enjoyable, but it’s more a case of spot-the-reference-point. There’s no arguing that Messrs Crank and Cox have talent in abundance, there’s just nothing new being done here. File under “Getting ready to go out tunes”.