The newest member of the Chicks On Speed collective, Israeli-born, London-based Anat Ben-David has created a noisy blast of stomping electro-pop on her debut Virtual Leisure. It's perfectly in line with the sort of stuff that you expect to hear on the label, with hammering beats that at times weave into an almost digital hardcore crunch, while everything from overblown samples to crunk analogue keyboards and over-the-top vocals give the release an electro punk vibe that really guides it during the best moments.
"Russia" announces things with a major presence as quiet electronics weave around carnival-style organ grinder melodies, juicy synth bass, and a combination of live and programmed beats. Over the top of it all, Ben-David attacks the microphone in alternately seductive and almost operatic ways, easily making the song one of the best on the album. "Poor R Fat" is even more blown-out, with massive synth and guitar riffs squealing over a swerving beat that gives the track a woozy stomp.
The rest of the Virtual Leisure is a bit more of a mixed-vibe, but it never fails to be interesting sonically. "Robot Kid" is just over two minutes of noisy 8-bit electronic noise pop, while "Moon Boom" and "Beg London" take things down a few notches into ballad-leaning ambience. The album closer of "Nimm dich in acht vor blonden Frauen" even takes things straight-up rock band, ditching all electronics for a sort of garage rock vibe that makes it pretty clear why Ben-David spent the rest of the release moving in the opposite direction. It's a rarity that I enjoy an album more as it moves towards the less-subtle side of the spectrum, but that's definitely the case here. The insanely catchy album-titled "Virtual Leisure" is a perfect example, playing out like a crazy rock opera song that captures perfectly Ben-David's performance art side. Just a bit uneven, this fifteen song, forty-five minute album is still some of the better stuff I've heard in this vein in some time.