gullbuy music review



OK Cowboy




Zonk CD coverVitalic is French electronic artist Pascal Arbez. In 2001 he lept into the clubs with the Poney EP 12inch. OK Cowboy is his first full length.

Vitalic had been associated with the Electroclash Scene. Despite the fall of that sound, he has thankfully kept his sound the same, and has delivered ten new songs along with three tracks from the Poney EP (Poney, Pt. 1, Poney, Pt. 2 and La Rock 01).

The Vitalic sound incorporates elements of the 80s Belgian EBM sound along with a rock-like song structure. On My Friend Darrio, the first single from the LP, he uses treated female vocals like the Italian band Benny Benassi, but adds a break that will have you wishing you had long hair again so you could shake it in a metal frenzy - the track moves! It sounds like the lyric is about car racing, with the thrash break being a race. The second single from the LP was No Fun. Again, a treated female voice speaks like in Benny Bennasi. These are the only two tracks on the LP in that style.

OK Cowboy opens with Polkamatic, a short electronic polka instrumental. The first proper song is Poney Part 1, which is all killer. Pascal does slight vocals far in the background.

Wooo is an instrumental that skirts the same keyboard turf as Robbie Kreiger in The Doors or Kieth Emerson in ELP. Not for the first time on the LP you may also think of Soft Cell, though their is no campy vocals, and the mood is much more aggressive.

La Rock 01, from the Poney EP, is the best Vitalic track yet. Over the pulse boosting 4/4 beat a synth rides waves of sound, oscillating through scales to make you feel like you are on a surfboard riding a killer wave of sound in an acid house club.

The Past is the most sedate track on the disc, with his treated voice barely intelligible, whistling and warbling around a lofty melody.

Poney Part 2 brings vocals up into the foreground of the track. Repair Machines uses Pascal's treated voice like an instrument just as The Past did, though Repair Machines is much more upbeat. There is almost a 70s rock feel to the track, like it is a Cream song with instrumentation of a new era.

Newman is my favorite of the new tracks on OK Cowboy because it has the energy of a track like My Friend Darrio, but no vocals, so you don't grow tired of the song after listening to it a lot. In that way it is similar to La Rock 01.

Trahison brings back the prog keyboard sound first heard on Wooo. U and L has a pulsing synthesizer synchronizing with the drumbeat, and a warped synth with a refracted underwater sound.

The album ends with Valletta Fanfares, a marching band styled instrumental centering around snare drums.

OK Cowboy does not have any bad tracks, and has several tracks that could fall under the category 'required listening.'

---Carl, November 1, 2005