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Break Out The Levitating Martini's

Trip Tease

If you're one of those people who went through the whole swing/lounge phase and ended up buying a bunch of discs that you just can't seem to find the kitsch levels for anymore, you missed out on one. The good thing about this one, though, is that it still manages to sound really good, even when those Organs From Space and old television theme show compilations have worn out their welcome. You see, Tipsy is all about being hip and swanky (and they're not afraid to admit it, even going so far as having pictures of martini's and retro furniture on their packaging somewhere).

The difference between Tipsy and the whole series of nearly 20 (or more, I seem to lose count) ultra lounge discs (although it's a fine one) is that Tipsy has just a slight bit more of an edge and less of a reliance on pure kitsch to get them through. Instead, there are some genuinely great tunes and some interesting instrumentation and although this disc was released quite awhile back, it unfortunately came in under the radar of most people because the market was completely flooded with the discs I mentioned above.

The disc opens up with a track called "Mr. Excitement" and while it's not bouncing off the walls as one might expect, it exudes more of a calm cool, punctuated by bursts of horns. It sounds like more of a theme song for a secret agent than anything else, which would also qualify it just well to fit into the song title. The disc gets even more interesting on the second track "Space Golf," when an almost scat rhythm is laid down over eerie soundscapes and little electronic pings. It too is highlighted with moments of funky percussion and a dribble of horns, and works that twisted edge that shows why the group is not just another lounge clone. The third track "Grossenhosen" (German for "big pants") takes the goofy factor up a few notches with cascades of chimes and some strange sound effects, and moves them all along with a hopalong, shuffling beat.

While a couple tracks seem to wander just a little bit too much (like the meandering "Tuatara"), there are other tracks that more than make up for it with tight arrangements and grooves that just suck you in. "El Bombo Atomico" is a track that features some very nice guitar work (and accordian!) and the group manages to pull off a track that's fun and light without choking you on the cheese factor. Unless you have no pulse to speak of, "Oops!" will get your foot tapping with some funky drumming and an excellent bassline. With the album, the group has pulled off a really nice fusion of lounge and live instrumentation, with just a touch of bizarre electronic music to spice things up. I'm all for retro, but eventually it needs to move to stay fresh, and that's what Tipsy has done with lounge on Trip Tease

Rating: 7.25