Imagine Burt Bacharach mistakenly plugs in his grandkid’s iPod, and instead of hearing George Gershwin, it blasts Daft Punk — and the mix-up inspires him to write an album recreating what he heard. The result would probably sound a lot like Rules, the new release from the Whitest Boy Alive, aka Erlend Øye (formerly of Kings of Convenience).
Øye effectively marries his pristine pop sensibilities to the dance-rock genre, backed by a crack rhythm section that plays like a super-computer with a soul (even more impressive when you consider that Rules has no overdubs). Øye’s white-chocolate vocals mostly ponder relationship woes, but even lines like “No need to shout about it / I’m sick and tired, too” can’t kill the party vibe. And that early Daft Punk comparison is for real: “1517” pulls a Kanye and completely lifts the chords to “Harder Better Faster Stronger,” but it ends up sounding more human than Human After All.