Hyperactive dayglo synthpop from the heart of Texas
The state of Texas and synthpop don’t usually go together but Hyperbubble, a husband/wife duo from San Antonio (Jeff ’n’ Jess – aint that cute?) are here to prove there is life beyond the Gibson Firebird and ZZ Top in the Lone Star State. It’s telling that their current label, Pure Pop For Now People, is based in Frankfurt. Previously they were on the Glasgow label Bubblegum, which is probably where they came to the attention of Manda Rin, of catchy kitsch Scots popsters Bis. This resulting collaboration is ‘Hyperbubble + Manda Rin’, a mini-album of dayglo synth glory which sits somewhere between the retro-futurism of The B-52s, Devo’s synthpop classic ‘Oh No! It’s Devo!’ and Madonna’s 1980s ‘Into The Groove’ heyday, all patted down with several shovelfuls of contemporary post-modern suss.
The standout track is ‘Hello Heaven Operator’, the most obviously Devo-influenced of the lot, sounding like the Akron boys’ ‘Out Of Sync’ with syndrum blasts and hardness lurking under the pop sheen. ‘Geometry II’ has plenty of appeal too, the Kraftwerk-esque noises a la ‘Pocket Calculator’ and the one lyric – “Geometry!” – repeated over and over, like the theme tune to a maths-positive kids programme. ‘In The Movies’, for which Hyperbubble made a lo-fi and very silly (almost) animated video featuring cats, is another supremely catchy moment. The set’s closer, ‘Attack Of The 3-D Space Kittens’ (if you haven’t got the idea by now, then that title should do the trick) pulls off a kind of synthpop-thrash metal hybrid with a solo worthy of Keith Emerson after several gallons of PCP had been injected into his eyeballs. Yeah, make of that what you will.
It doesn’t come as a huge surprise that Hyperbubble have an art school background and it doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to suppose that they would probably prefer to be cartoon characters, like The Powerpuff Girls (the violent-yet-cute late 1990s series for which Bis wrote the excellent closing credit theme song). Endlessly youthful and energetic and just chock full o’ fun.