Electro fun-ky

Aug 4, 1999 at 12:00 am

I-F gave the world last year’s goofiest and greatest lo-fi electro new wave classic, "Space Invaders are Smoking Grass," only to recoil in horror as every rhythmically challenged indie rock scribe in America adopted the junkyard-Devo novelty track as their critic’s fave of last year. Now, like some vintage-synth-eccentric version of Fugazi, I-F (Ferenc to his mom) forgoes the altrock crossover new wave and pulls back into ’70s instrumental soundtrack territory with The Man from PACK. As weird as it is good, PACK goes from faux-chase scene exuberance ("The Getaway Scene") to spaced-out effects tinkering ("Moonbase Next to G") without batting an eyelash. The vibe is low-budget Kraftwerk, peppered with his own sense of humor (check out the silly "I’m a vocoder/like Giorgio Moroder" vocals on "Secret Desire"), reasserting his love for the amorphous, indirectly funky static rhythms that are at electro’s machine-headed heart.

By resisting pop formulas and kitschy hooks, I-F reminds us what it was about electro that made it so great in the first place. And with his tongue firmly in cheek on the whole music-for-weird-films-that-never-existed vibe, he shows us he’s not taking any of this too seriously.

Score one for the take-me-to-your-leader funk.