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splendid > reviews > 11/26/2002
Out Hud
Out Hud
S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D.
Kranky


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Dad, there's a Little Phrase Called Too Much Information"

Buy me now
Mark my words, when the Electroclash/'80s post-punk backlash hits, groups like Out Hud are going to get the worst of it -- not because they're more visible or sell more records, but because their contagious brand of dancehall fervor is an easy target. Disenchanted listeners always leave the dour bands (Interpol) to their dreary devices and lay off the full-fledged weirdos (Black Dice), but aim straight at the heart of freak-funk-flag-flying party bands like Out Hud. Still, the time for retro hatred is not yet upon us; there's still plenty of time to strap into your favorite pair of three-quarter-top Reeboks and dance 'til ya drop.

After three years, this Brooklyn-by-way-of-Sacramento quintet has finally gotten their shit together and released a full-length album. S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. comes hot on the heels of a string of successful releases on tastemaker labels like Gold Standard Labs, 5 Rue Christine and Troubleman Unlimited -- so needless to say, the album arrives front-loaded with all the hype the flipped-collared hipsters of the NYC-based neo-post-punk movement could muster.

They certainly are a high-strung bunch, which partially explains the coil-wound ardor and brittle abstraction inherent in tracks like "This Bum's Paid" and "Story of the Whole Thing". Three-fifths of Out Hud are also members of punk-funk monoliths !!!, so perhaps it makes sense. However, while mention of that band of punctuation-intensive funksters might immediately summon images of nattily dressed kids dancing in place, S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. is of an altogether different stripe. It's a languid and elaborate affair -- a throbbing amalgamation of wiry, Au Pairsian art-funk, steely Gang of Four resolve and Cabaret Voltaire-inflected industrial howl.

But surely these somewhat disparate influences couldn't possibly coalesce into anything worth listening to? Think again -- the bulk of the material here is stunningly spry and unerringly danceable. "Dad, there's a Little Phrase Called Too Much Information" is modern-day disco for those infatuated with Robert Smith, bondage and Sylvia Plath, the gritty-chug of "Hair Dude, You're Stepping on my Mystique" is equal parts lock-step sophistication and gnarled machine drone, and the massive "The L Train is a Swell Train and I Don't Want to Hear You Indies Complain" is both a shot at the pasty-faced lads and lassies that have made the boys superstars, and a lightspeed romp that incorporates elements of punk, house, electro, disco, new-wave, '80s synth pop and no wave into its whiplash-inducing oeuvre.

Enjoy Out Hud and their potently peculiar brand of avant-garde dance music now. Chances are good that once a new year is upon us, the same capricious tastemakers who resurrected the genre in the first place will decide that '80s retro-chic is "totally last year's thing" and get all wet over "ironic" '80s hair metal instead. Of course, this won't stop you from listening to Out Hud...but who knows where another round of listening taste-shifts will take them?



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