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Mixel Pixel, ‘Contact Kid’ (Kanine)

Mixel Pixel is like an overly decorated t-shirt, one that started out as a pristine white t-shirt. Sure it was simple, but it was classic. Imagine that platonic ideal of a t-shirt sullied with lace and sequins and all manner of unnecessary flair until the base of white was nearly completely obscured. In the same fashion, Mixel Pixel took beautiful, uncomplicated folk melodies and bedazzled the crap out of them with videogame noises, Casio-tones, and precious lyrics. The resulting album is a mishmash of folk and electronic that sounds anything but clean.

The eighth song, “Gas House Gables,” off Mixel Pixel’s Contact Kid, is a perfect example of a lovely song muddled by too much digital debris. It begins with a simple guitar hook and a trilling flute, then a more distorted guitar comes in at about fifteen seconds. For a full forty-five seconds, “Gas House Gables” is a perfect combination of mellifluous and dissonant. Then after forty-five seconds, a truly grating electronic whine comes in, followed by nonsensical sounds from a human voice. And that’s only the beginning. Soon other voices enter the composition, “It’s twelve o’clock,” one voice declares. “It’s midnight,” the same voice confirms. Mixel Pixel keeps piling on the electronic flourishes until the song is a big ol’ mess, and completely unrecognizable from the original, simple melody.

“At the Arcade,” is the most noxious song on Contact Kid, with its snark-filled lyrics and almost Sugar Ray-sounding folk guitar. “Noxema skin just like Barbie…I felt like I was in a Duran Duran video,” Rob Corradetti sings in an alternately irritating and endearing voice. “At the Arcade” walks the tightrope between goofy and stupid before falling off with a resounding thump into stupid territory, though it does have an impressive cartoony breakdown at the end.

The only song that escapes the overbearing flair function after Mixel Pixel’s mixes is the third song on Contact Kid, “Penny Rocket/Romantic,” which is successfully lo-fi and affecting, a mostly unabashed love song. Corradetti’s voice on “Penny Rocket” is subtle and soft, and is not a jarring departure from the rest of the song. Maybe their aural Bedazzler was broken that day.