Nuclear Power Pants came off create synth-heavy, spazzy, lo-fi garage rock with an interplay between lethargic male and hi-energy female vocals. It’s certainly entertaining, to a degree, with tracks like “Uh Oh” starting off with buzzing synths and guttural expulsions of sound that are immediately engaging. “Graveyard” and “Partytime U.S.A.” have some some really bouncy basslines, and the former has sound effects which fall somewhere between samples from Pac Man and corny Halloween banshee squeals. Some people might be able to get behind it, in a goofy, almost Aquabats kind of way. And they certainly do have that kind of playful edge — the sarcastic type you might expect from a band with a name as inane as Nuclear Power Pants. But by the time “Partytime U.S.A.” rolls around, I’m a bit tired of all of the laser sounds and old-school sci-fi whirrings. Bleh.
Which is a shame, because it seems like “Partytime U.S.A.” might be their most popular song, even though I cannot stand it or its lyrics that repeat over and over again, “I’m not a nuclear fluke/ I’ve got a bad reputation as a real cool dude.” All I can think is that I want to plot an escape from this album, and even though the rest of it slows down, becomes more diverse, and even gets a bit enjoyably droney in parts, “Partytime U.S.A.” kind of killed my mood. If you can make it beyond that, though, there are a couple of tracks it’d be good to stick around for.
Vivian Hua (華婷婷) wears a lot of random hats, but has somewhat mastered globetrotting like a hobo and evading traditional 9-to-5 work schedules. She enjoys observing human idiosyncrasies perhaps more than anything and is a magnet for homeless people (a joy) and bug bites of all types (absolutely terrible). Through her work, she hopes to embrace the temporary while documenting the nostalgic, using divination and dream symbolism as guides through the cosmic maze. Additional writing, art, video, and other crap, like her astrological chart, can be seen at www.inallthings-patterns.net. She is the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE magazine, and quite appreciates unsolicited personal e-mails just to shoot the shit and narrow the gaps between human beings.