Kittenz and Thee Glitz

Mar 13, 2002 at 12:00 am
Chicago’s Felix “da Housecat” Stallings Jr. is a glamour-puss extraordinaire and, quite appropriately, his Eurotrash electro licks and sweaty synths sound just how fashion functions. Which is to say that Kittenz and Thee Glitz may be a captivating catwalk down memory lane of 1980s new wave and house, but ultimately it’s just another accessory for a night on the town.

And da Housecat wouldn’t want it any other way.

His 16-year career’s best bet at pop-crossover success practically revels in its dance-floor disposability, wanting its 16 Ladytron-ic trax to comment on the high falutin’ and fleeting nature of celebrity and fashion. Over booty-baitin’ beats that recall a kinkier, dinkier New Order, Melistar instructs listeners to “use your body for the fame game,” and Miss Kittin talk-taunts about limos, condos and livin’ la vida 90210. So listen and learn, ‘cause Kittenz, at least according to da Housecat, has a “cheeky, cool” statement to make about “the glam life.”

Not that he and his posse of collaborators actually make such a statement. OK, yeah, so it’s “cheeky” when Miss Kittin deadpans, “I’ll become a great big star ... and maybe one day you can shake my hand,” but mimicry (even with a sneer)
isn’t parody or smart commentary, and so the album simply sounds pretentious, like the work of some New Wave know-it-alls who are too cool and cold for everyone else. Listeners included.

Kittenz is so self-conscious, ironic and full of feigned indifference, in fact, that it ultimately becomes its own version of what it set out to mock — an alluring, empty illusion of stardom.

E-mail Jimmy Draper at [email protected].