Just about the time that I was wondering what had happened to Elizabeth Esselink, she comes back around with an entirely new album of her damn catchy, kitschy pop music. Unlike her last album Pick Up (which was mainly constructed out of loops she'd recorded at different live performances) or her debut Solex Vs. The Hitmeister (which was constructed out of sampled bits of crappy music she couldn't sell in her record store), this newest release doesn't really have a catch like that. Instead, it seems that she's taken little bits of everything she's learned to this point and created another goofy fun album that should again have the geek boys drooling over her.
OK, so it's not high-art, but honestly Low Kick And Hard Bop is one of the more fun albums that I've heard this year. Like her other albums, it's a weird pastiche of sampled odds-n-ends, clunking programmed beats, some live instruments, and the almost free-association lyrics of Esselink (although which most are sung in English, many are indecipherable). Imagine a non-pissed off version of LeTigre with the guitars replaced by random horn bursts with a touch of Cibo Mato and you're somewhere getting close to the sound (although maybe not really).
The album opens up with the album titled track of "Low Kick And Hard Bop" and a squealing harmonica sample blurts out over a chunky, bubbly beat (with some serious low-end) while Esselink yells out lyrics in her endearingly fun way. "Mere Imposters" ends up being one of her catchiest tracks ever, with a stuttering beat that turns into something downright catchy while everything from little piano samples, organ bursts, and funky basslines get dropped in to fill in the cracks. The upright bass shuffle of "Honey (Amsterdam Is Not LA)" rumbles along with a hand-clapping rhythm and more sing-along vocals.
Although the album has 15 different tracks, only one cracks the 3 and a half minute mark, and most of them fly by so quickly that nothing wears out its welcome. At 42 minutes long, the album is a load of fun (just in case you didn't figure that out with track titles like "Ease Up, You Fundamentalist!" and "Have You No Shame, Girl?") and I can honestly say that if the pop music that were on the radio was this inventive and fun, I might not have given up listening. Less lo-fi than her last two releases, it's just as scattershod in terms of little bits that make their way into the mix, including horns, swanky pianos, and slapped-out percussion. After three albums, I feel like maybe I should be sick of it, but somehow I'm not. Fun!