Gay Dad

Did you ever blast the transistor under your pillow loud enough to risk your mom storming in? How long has it been since you've heard a hit? A tune so hot it can even make you believe you're devastatingly attractive screaming it at the intersection? If you can't remember, fire up the album-opening title track of Gay Dad's Transmission. It starts with a few seconds of techno stuttering that becomes the salty counterpoint to some rare, heavenly sugar: the confection of white soul, Beatlesy hooks and arena bombast that once exclusively wore the label "power-pop." The song's fat acoustic/electric/electro layers stratify into a megalithic defense of digital recording's oft-maligned cut 'n' paste aesthetic. And not least, it's got this cascading, neon chorus -- "I wanna get hiiiiiiiigh onnnnn you-woo-woo" -- strung out on such concentrated puppy love you'll forget to be embarrassed as you sing along.

Transmission the album, however, honors a more timeless convention than the Queenish harmonies and romantic radio metaphors of "Transmission" the song: namely, that of padding out a brilliant single into a full-price long-player. Yup, not one of the eleven tracks that follow "Transmission" catches fire. If you're after sustained thrills, go for Gay Dad's 1999 Leisure Noise. Transmission is really just a single -- one so glorious you'll wish it came on 45, so that you could slap it on your all-in-one Emerson turntable/receiver/8-track and bounce off the walls till you get yelled at. So don't tell Mom you spent your whole allowance for one song.

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Andrew Marcus