Captivating bedroom pop with a karaoke video/soft haze filter on it that collapses the textural dimensions of music to an appealing, shiny finish. The music of Part Time owes a debt to ‘80s movie scores, neon lights, fog machines and nightlife, a generous sampling of New Romance in a post-capitalist world, its heart going out to everyone who hasn’t abandoned their silk shirts in favor of more practical attire. The home studio shell and canned dynamics of Part Time quickly dissolve to reveal some serious jammers in the midst, the image of a man pouring his heart out into the psychotropic fronds of the lounge at the Venusian Holiday Inn. Pour yourself a yard of liquid acid and float along.
Part Time’s sophomoric effort PDA picks up from where 2011’s What Would You Say? debut left us: starry-eyed, sugar-rushed, and eager for another night drive. David Speck, the creative mind behind the project has an undeniable ear for writing pop songs that feel steeped in a perpetual state of teenage romance. Each track on PDA boasts a timeless, strangely familiar melody – cushioned by achingly perfect chord progressions that fall precisely into place, and all produced in a style befitting of its playfully referential nature.
Part Time can almost feel like catching a glimpse into Speck’s own private karaoke booth as he croons, wails and whispers through each song; dressed in various thrift-store costume pieces and framed by broken sets of mood lighting. This is a quality reflected in Speck’s penchant for churning out handheld/D.I.Y. music videos at a rate which nearly rivals his prolific songwriting output. These goofy, spoof-like visual accompaniments serve to enhance the project’s aesthetic sensibilities, pushing its post-modern irreverence to fun new heights.
From the get-go, PDA feels ever-so-slightly more mature than What Would You Say?. Whether it’s the production, which was split between Speck’s San Francisco bedroom and Gary’s Electric studio in Brooklyn, or the songwriting, which boasts a more sophisticated brand of guitar pop, it feels like both a welcome and natural progression. In saying that, PDA is still an undeniably fun record, and a colorful pastiche that cycles through Speck’s choice 80s pop tropes; guitar jangle, keytar leads, sexy basslines, fried synth wiggles and a karaoke songbook chock full of lost hits by The Smiths, The Cure, The Cars & DEVO.