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60 Watt Kid - 2012 Breakdown Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 6.75
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 6.75
Production 9
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 81%
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60 Watt Kid - 2012 Breakdown

Reviewed by: Susan Frances (08/18/08)
60 Watt Kid - 2012 Breakdown
Record Label: Absolutely Kosher
Release Date: August 2008

The 60 Watt Kid, made up of Kevin Litrow, Derek Stovall, and Garrett Pierce, creates an amazing aural odyssey with synthesizers on his latest EP, 2012 Breakdown. The inlets of sonic aberrations through the album are relatable to avant-pop icons, Talking Heads. Litrow’s vocal register is even very similar to that of the Talking Heads lead singer, David Byrne, so much so that the title track and “Microchips for Dinner” could be mistaken for the Talking Heads. The songs are garbed in ethereal frequencies and gossamer threads forming echo box effects, ghostlike drum machine loops, and a gauzy stratosphere that feels like floating bodies of sounds which have no destination or purpose, they are there for no other reason then to show the relationship between different bodies of sounds.

The electronic waves through the title track create sequences that build up and disseminate periodically. The overtones of tribal beats are occasional and mesh into the wandering bodies of sounds producing broad fluctuations along the passages. The Asian-toned effects in “Microchips for Dinner” have a soft fluidity as wicked chord distortions pierce into the layers producing a series of laser blasts, spinning wheels, and sonic explosions that resound with the voices you’ll hear in a tropical rainforest. The automated sounds have reflections of birds chirping, reptiles slithering, and droplets of water being soaked into the earth’s flora and fauna. Conversely, “Cobblestone Sunglasses” have folksy textures fringed in electronic effects showing a common denominator to Animal Collective and 60 Watt Kid’s label mates, Xiu Xiu. The flowy accents in the melody are enchanting making circles of pleasing esthetics. The final number “2012 Breakdown Part 1 and 2 Full Song,” extends the opening track to greater lengths with exuberance in the dynamics, abrupt chord changes, and natural variations in the bodies of sounds. This tune feels like it should be a museum piece as it takes the listener along melodic channels with peaks, troughs, flutters, squiggles, swerves, and automated punctuations through low keys and higher registers that contour an ethereal landscape of monolithic proportions. It has all the taglines of a sculpture or painting that you would find in a museum.

Lithrow, aka 60 Watt Kid, makes electronic music with the gauzy resonance of the Cocteau Twins and the piercing distortions of England’s Massive Attack. The bodies of sounds that he creates entwine and move freely through the passages, showing a true love for the mechanics of sounds. His bodies of sounds draw reflections of outer space communication like in “2012 Breakdown” and of the squawking of primitive animals like in “Microchips for Dinner.” It is an EP that is ahead of its time, and yet, so useful in opening people’s minds to the larger picture that sounds make when they intermingle with each other. The EP is mind blowing and serves to create an ambience of pleasing esthetics.

RIYL: Talking Heads, Xiu Xiu, Cocteau Twins, Massive Attack, Animal Collective

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