From the synthesizers to the stupid-ass hairstyles, seems like everybody’s loving the ’80s these days, but married duo Hyperbubble’s neo-retro sound is notably different for a couple of (possibly correlated) reasons. Experience, for one — Jeff DeCuir’s been a mainstay on the San Antonio scene for decades as a member of experimental psych rockers Crevice and bizarro-punk act Spleen. More importantly, they understand the most charming element of those Reagan-riffic electric-pop-corn-makers: fearless goofiness. When Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor claims to be “Ready for the Floor,” you know you’re in for a night of awkward feet shuffling and self-conscious shoulder shrugs. Jeff and Jess DeCuir, on the other hand, are going to be shaking their asses. You might occasionally back off in embarrassment, but they’ll just keep grinning.
After an opening overture, the title track references the Damned (for god knows what reason) before proclaiming “the good times are taking over” and imploring you to “turn on your radio.” Don’t bother. There’s nothing like this cartoon automaton symphony on any station, including Jack FM. “Girl Boy Pop Toy” introduces the Decuirs and challenges the “synthesizer haters” to give them a shot. If you’re prejudiced against Casio rock, you won’t be converted by this track, but it’ll be hard to suppress a smile listening to “Chop Shop Cop,” the should-be theme song to the most awesomely ridiculous non-existent police show ever. “Serial number instead of a name,” Jess croons over a beat that’s industrial in the same way the Village Person in the hardhat was a construction worker. “Supermarket Casanova” (sample line: “It’s boys like you who give checkout lines a new meaning … there’s a clean-up on aisle three”) is equally laughable. Though Hyperbubble’s music seems designed to double-dog dare you to take the band seriously, it’s not fair to call them a novelty act. Songs like “Teddy Bear Crime Wave,” UFO Beach Party,” and “Moogzilla vs. Korgatron” are purposefully light and juvenile, undercut by wackiness, and designed to move your feet, but they’re also subtly intricate, expertly produced, and fun as hell. In Hyperbubble world, the first step to any dance is getting over yourself. — Jeremy Martin