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Felix da Housecat

The electroclash scene isn't dead yet. Or if it is, then nobody told Felix da Housecat. Once a Chicago house DJ who was huge in Europe and barely noticed in the States, Felix arrived in 2002 with one of nouveau synth-pop's finest platters, Kittenz and Thee Glitz. And his latest CD, Devin Dazzle and the Neon Fever, doesn't divert from electroclash's familiar recipe of shiny synth rhythms and chirpy computer blips and bleeps. For the vocals, Felix has assembled what the listener imagines is a glamorous group of exotic, Amazonian babes in leather body suits; on three tracks, he's actually teamed with the all-girl group Neon Fever.

Almost every song is delivered with a wink, and the humor is subtle. "Watching Cars Go By" is Eurocool with a deft groove, including some vaguely sexy but indecipherable babbling from a foreign girl. The song sounds like an all-night romp through Hamburg's Reeperbahn, with a hash and heroin binge thrown in. New wave-style handclaps and a Soft Cell/Human League dance beat make "Ready 2 Wear" very gay disco, with robot vocals and a silly chorus ("There's nothing I can tell you/You look good when you wear it well") repeated endlessly.

But unlike many other electroclash artists, Felix's songs really do sound indistinguishable from a lot of the music that came out in the '80s. He seems to have soaked up new wave like few others, and his songs are the very essence of that shallow genre. Felix is one sly cat, and irony is his most useful tool. -- Adam Bregman

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