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Bikini Death Race – Photo Credit: Bikini Death Race
Italian (by way of the UK) electroclash/synth-punk outfit Bikini Death Race are back with their second album, Refrigerator, a mix of punk, synth-pop and electronica, neon lights, distorted bass, and liberating shouts. The LP releases today via Negative Gain Productions.
The ironic, Dadaist, and nonsense approach of the band’s first album, Party Animals, is well-preserved but with Refrigerator, they’ve taken a deep-dive into experimentation with analog synthesizers and drum machines – modelling a more defined sound by uniting the punk soul of their past with more varied and articulate songwriting.
The resulting sound is also born out of a remote creative process cultivated while writing the album largely during the COVID-19 lockdown. The LP was recorded, mixed, and produced by Valerio A. Lundini at Black Tape Studio in Rome and mastered by Henke Jonsson at Masters of Audio in Stockholm.
Going back via a time machine… In 2016, a boy in a panda mask and a girl in a cat mask wrote and recorded Party Animals. This electro-punk debut resulted in a reissue on vinyl which sold out at gigs and the release of two videos.
Since then, Layman Alpha (the guy in the helmet who drives the synths and drum machines) started collaborating with the band. With this newer line-up that includes Gingerkat Baddrox (vocals) and Panda Guy (bass), Bikini Death Race toured an electronic, punk, and surrealist live act across Italy and wider Europe – gigs at which the presence of laptops or playbacks was deliberately denied and instead replaced with live – analog electronics.
After performing their last concert in Rome in October 2019, Bikini Death Race turned their full attention to writing the new album. In the meantime, the whole world closed down.
Big Takeover is pleased to host the premiere of the vibrantly wild and intensely tasty Refrigerator on the day of its official release.
The romping title track kicks off the album with high-energy beats, zippy synths, and rapid-fire, dispassionately robotic sing-talking vocals from powerhouse Baddrox.
The Motorik pace and boisterous electronics continue on “Frontline” (and defiant punk vocals) – and for the rest of the tantalizing pack of anthemic and restless tracks.
Sleek and foreboding dance-popper noir “Terminitram” takes the listener on an escape to “places unknown”, while the slammin’ “Her” races by with speedily cycling beats and amped up mechanics.
Dazzling synth-popper “Disappearing” adds dreamier layers to its sharp electronic sound and driving “Rorro” is a vivid post-punk/electro-synth mash-up.
Twisty electronics and industrial smacks echo through “Baggage,” while ominous “Hush” stomps on by with a lurching tempo and strict beats.
Album-ender and aptly titled “Nine” starts off as an instrumental before Braddrox’s exclamations and a while of synths are mixed into the vibrant sound.
The members of Bikini Death Race kindly added some interesting details about each track off the album:
“Refrigerator is nine songs which sound like, and talk about, more or less these things…”
“A sequencer is the key to turning our machine on. This song is a dream, a nightmare, a vision: one where you dominate me in the kitchen but make sure to clean up after yourself. It’s a culinary porn reality.”
“The bassline reproduces the sound of the engine (apparently a car from the ’80s). “Frontlines” is about escaping lockdown. Me from my bedroom and you from yours, the sublime scent of spring and denied freedom in a deserted city.”
“Huge synthesizers help to cover the paranoid urban sounds around you – follow the waves and try to isolate yourself. You are in a carriage filled with multi-colored souls, all standing still like statues at the tram stop. Will we ever make it home tonight?”
“Now let’s up the white noise and distortion to venerate the figure poised between sanctity and seduction, of all sexes, sexless. Can you see her?”
“When we made this drum pattern, we thought footsteps in the woods at night sound similar. The tale takes us down a hidden path, to an abandoned house. It’s swampy underfoot, fluffy gloves to keep warm. Flashes of light and a yellow door. But what am I fearing?”
“Do you like synth-pop? We always thought that an electric bass was missing! Do you like punk? We always thought it was better with some synthesizers ;) ..the perfect backdrop for a song about a magical, pink bicycle. It could be all anyone needs. Everywhere you place it, sweet-smelling, and colorful flowers grow.”
“…sometimes an electric bass and synth bass together are even better. “Baggage” is about getting away, far far away. Living on the road. A mobile home and an ever-new horizon.”
“When I was a child there was no organ in my church, but there was an ARP AXXE! We won’t be hushed. This shit has been going down for at least eleven centuries and we are all about escaping any doctrine that harasses our inner child.”
“It’s impossible to hide a bit of melancholy at the end when we sing about shoes that begin at 9.”
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