Stereo Total, Do The Bambi (Kill Rock Stars)

by Stephanie Duncan

I admit that on those occasional bright and sunny summer days, I put on Stereo Total and dance around like I'm in a Russ Meyer's flick. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure given their lack of, shall we say, originality. They've been doing the same thing for about thirteen years. I mean, it's not like the duo is going for "groundbreaking" or "brilliant" or some other word worth throwing in between our friends the "quotation marks". They're fun, they're happy, but they're getting older and it shows. The novelty begins to wear off. The title itself is highly evocative of some playful cute dance that involves little deers prancing around. Or playing synths-- lemme tell you, those are some damn smart deers.

Always reminscent of the 1960s, there's nothing like an entire album whose lyrics I don't entirely understand (see also: Sigur Ros). Arguably, there ARE English lyrics on here but I'm hardpressed to make what little there are out and would rather remain entirely convinced they constantly sing in some strange mixture of French and German with Brezel Goring grabbing his nuts-- either that or cutting them off in some sort of performance art piece. Again, it's not original. But it is fun and fluffy at times. Though there is something strangely terrifying about German and really, I don't know German or French. Maybe they swear the whole time. I'm pretty sure they're just listing movie actors in "Cinemania" though. Either that or I'm hearing the words "John Travolta" everywhere. Her accent does pretty well to mask just listing some sort of really long and convoluted version of six-degrees of Kevin Bacon and turn it into a halfway decent song. Okay, so they're not going to win any literary awards.

Vive Le Weekend means "Long Live the Weekend" in French! Sorry. I was excited that I actually understood it a bit. For something with a title implicative of stereotypical teen movies, the melody itself is somewhat dour and Francoise just seems, well, I don't know, bored. I could be wrong-- could be just that European brand of happiness! Seriously though, I don't know German. Something about a dog and the word 'yes'. Plus complex beats truly worthy of Atari.

At this juncture, it's rather pointless to continue dissecting tracks when they lost me about five ago. There is a formula, I've managed to discern, though: fluffy twee poppish sensibility + bored francoise + over-serious brezel + atari beats and/or somewhat randomly timed guitars + various languages + intentional 1960s sound = 19 tracks or one hour of Do the Bambi. See, this is the one thing that utterly baffled me when it came to this album. Nineteen tracks? Okay, so what if none of them reach 4 minutes? I could argue that this fucks with the coherency of the album as a whole but honestly? It doesn't touch the coherency. As far as I can tell, there is no coherency. Maybe there's a theme. There's no standout tracks, at least. They all kind of match each other. Like identical twins. Except the twins aren't quirky like those Sweet Valley twins. They're like those German uber kids. So, none of the tracks feel inferior to another. It's not boring, exactly. Still, for something like this, I don't think an hour was needed to prove their point. The point? The thought of deers dancing is adorable.

March 2005