They’re postmodern and they’re looking good. They’d like to take you home, that’s understood. For Zoot Woman, though, ‘home’ is something of an acquired taste, a vacuum-packed shrine to a Planet Earth that no longer exists. While they slope off to the kitchen to open a jar of Nescafé – just like that TV ad couple who everyone’s talking about! – you will be left sitting among their blouson jackets, chrome fittings and empty cans of Quattro, wondering if this was such a good idea after all. They seemed like such fun on the dancefloor. They dress like a Mario Testino tearsheet. Alone at last, however, the doubts creep in…
It’s easy to be suspicious of Zoot Woman and their synth stylings: let’s face it, the most productive result of the current ”80s revival’ has been a reminder that batwing jumpers are flattering only on bats. Yet it quickly becomes clear that Les Rythmes Digitales renegade Stuart Price and his sharp-suited colleagues Adam and Johnny Blake are not merely hollow-skulled fashion-whelps who embrace the decade with (newly voluminous) open arms because it’s
as shallow as them – Zoot Woman obviously adore the music that they
so deftly reactivate.
Maybe, like all inexplicable fetishes, their fixation with the once-unthinkable pop music of the 1980s – Hall & Oates, Duran Duran, Level 42, [I]Jan Hammer[/I] – stems from an all-consuming memory, like dragging a girl round the school disco as ‘Man Eater’ rumbled from the speaker by the wall bars. In fact, anyone of a certain age is going to be swamped by Proustian flashbacks as their life unfolds in a series of [I]Saturday Superstore[/I] Video Votes. The bleep and stutter that kicks off ‘You And I’; the monochrome cool of ‘It’s Automatic’; the falsetto-and-syndrum earnestness of ‘Jessie’: it might be pristine pastiche, from their streamlined synth palette to the Mark King inflections of Johnny Blake, but it remains surprisingly endearing. Yet it’s their shameless cover of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’ that probably shows their true colours – going back
to their proto-roots to show a flash
of bionic pop-academic steel beneath their impeccable sleeves.
Along with Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’
and Air’s ‘10000Hz Legend’, ‘Living In A Magazine’ will complete the triumvirate of records those with dot-com souls will buy this year. Yet for a truncated concept, it makes the present seem packed with potential, like summer might be fun, like John Taylor just might one day walk down your street. Like going to a niteclub drinking just champagne.