The danger of hitting the skip button on a compilation album is almost inevitable. By their multi-artist nature the likelihood of enjoying every track is incredibly low. Kitsune normally score higher than most with their electro-dance-pop releases and the latest instalment - number 9 in the series - continues this pattern, although with this edition Kitsune seem to be following rather than leading; a significant number of these tracks having already gained exposure elsewhere and there is nothing radically innovative or new about any of the songs on the record. The album is in places a little less full throttle than other Kitsune compilations, the label themselves describing it as ‘snuggly, peaceful and motherly.’ That is if your mother is the type who likes synths, studio trickery and danceable beats.
Diving in there’s the slow-flo jam of Belong by Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out, a sleepy-just-waking-up moment of distant lo-fi bass bliss which stretches lazily out over the opening of the album. Also hanging around you can find laptop dudes The Twelves having a tweak of Two Door Cinema Club’s Something Good Can Work, Arthur Baker bringing back his eighties street-sound electro dance clicks and beats to the elegant pop tune Wonderful Life by Hurts and Silver Columns hitting the perfect beat (boy) with their Bronski Beat disco rave-up Brow Beaten. All of these tracks and artists have been out there for sometime now, Kitsune bringing them all together as one happy family.
Elsewhere a number of the songs sound like they’ve jumped shipped from the glossier, funkier end of an early 1980’s Now That’s What I Call Music compilation. Gamble & Burke’s Let’s Go Together (which the Breaking More Waves I Tunes bizarrely names as Gamble & Prison) is a commercial blend of sugary r’n’b flavoured soul synth pop, the kind of song that could easily clog up the Radio 1 play list as it nods its head towards Hall and Oates and Lionel Ritchie. (Go ask your dad kids) Likewise the mellow vibe of The Phoenix Alive by Monarchy is classy piece cut from the cheeseboard of division one dancefloor disco pop.
Cooler Couleur by Crookers featuring Yelle is one track not to press skip on. A hot bassy carnival stomp of a track, it’s the kind of number that makes the so called hip bloggers proclaim phrases such as “This shit is one hot jam,” or other such nonsense, but with its distant sonic relationship to Paper Planes by M.I.A it’s easy to understand why. Elsewhere Berkshire’s The Good Natured seems to have thrown away the battered keyboard borrowed from lead singer Sarah’s grandmother to deliver something electronically sharper. Your Body Is A Machine is the sound of Dubstar partying on an iceberg with its chanting melancholy robopop sound. Mention must also be given to Fenech-Soler whose infectious Calvin Harris-hands-in-the-air jabbing synths on Stop and Stare may lack a little in the originality department, but manage to succeed as a whopping floor filler. If you file your CD's in alphabetical order this one slots neatly near Faithless and Friendly Fires.
With 18 tracks, it’s inevitable that even the most ardent of Kitsune fans will be tempted to hit the skip button a few times, but there’s enough here to keep the average electro-pop connoisseur happy and dancing around their bedroom in just their pants until volume 10 is out. Nothing earth shatteringly original here, but nothing dire either.
Kitsune Maison 9 is released on the 26th April 2010.