Toys In Coin Machines
~reviewed by Brian Parker

Sometimes you hear new bands and they suck.  Being interested in independent music, that’s just a part of life you got used to.  But every now and then, you hear an act that really strikes you; you like them, and you wish that everybody else in the world could hear them, and love them like you.  They’re that good.

But every once in a blue moon you hear an act like Flutter, and you’re slackjawed wondering how they’re on a label you never heard of, instead of snorting lines off a groupie’s naked torso on the limo ride from their Rolling Stone photo shoot to their private jet.  They’re pretty good, yeah, but more than that they’re just that accessible, and on top of it all they’re criminally photogenic.

So you’ve got this beautiful group making some poppy electronic music, and it’s bright and cheerful and has an awfully colorful cover, and they even sell these bright plastic raver bracelets (that read “Flutter”) on their website.  How does a CD like this end up in the StarVox mailbag?, you wonder, and opening for acts like Concrete Blonde and Freezepop?  Well, you’ve happily adopted comparable female-fronted electronic acts like Bjork and Garbage, so you figure it’s not so far-fetched to see how you (as a goth kid) could love them as well, especially as you start listening.  The lyrics are often wistful, occasionally downright bleak, and once you get past the poppy “singles” like “Come (Play) With Me” (for which a video is included on the multimedia CD) and “4th Day” you really start to get it.  It’s party music for dysthymics.

So you listen to the entire disc five times from beginning to end still enjoying it; what more can you ask?  Well, you figure, the disc is not without its flaws: there are a few less inspired tracks, and there isn’t quite as much depth here as you’d like.  Given the strong pop sensibility and fine mastering, you would have liked to hear them try something more challenging; mostly this is straightforward loops.  But you notice it’s flipping around to the sixth playthrough by now, and though you’re going to turn it off, there’s no way you won’t toss it in the changer next time you’re having a party.

So if you’re anything like me, this is the kind of experience you’ll have, and you’ll be really happy that you got it at such a reasonable price (a bargain at $10 on their website, as of this writing).

Track listing:  50 Cent Ring; Come With Me; Soft Lullaby;
Sleepwalking; Keep Me; Naked; 4th Day; Bad Idea; Citygirl; Itch; Be

Flutter is: Paul Determan, Christine Ingaldson, and Shaun Barrette

Contact Flutter (band):

PO Box 4544
Chicago, IL 60680

Contact AlphaBasic (label):

1356 N Cleveland -  Suite 1
Chicago, IL 60610