The most striking aspect of the home page of J-Punch and Dave Moonshine's official web site is this quote: "Blast us with wind, melt us with acid, and set us ablaze, and what are we left with? Stick Figure Guy." Followed by the tag line "Music for the wire frame."
The theme of stripping everything down to it's base elements seems to run throughout this DC duo's brilliant new album,"Stick Figure Guy." The tunes are dreamy, moody and darkly danceable. J-Punch, a veteran house music producer from Washington D.C., decided to scientifically engineer a new genre of music called "alt-Tempo" or "Down rock." It's truly a complex cocktail of many different genres mixing elements of house, indie, trip hop and more with abstract and contemplative lyrics.
The song "Shoes" is a great example of the stark and stripped down theme running throughout the album. It starts out with a haunting musical intro and breaks in to the lyrics "I got no shoes, I got no hands, I got no feet, I don't have a leg to stand on-it's borrowed. There is no today and there is no tomorrow." This song and others like "We Had It All" may seem to have a desperate almost nihilistic tone, but the music seems to blend an upbeat tone with the lyrics. There seems to be a thread of hope running through the hopeless stories on "Stick Figure Guy."
The completely danceable and addicting tune "Hours Late" is a superbly crafted, even tempo anthem that focuses on disenchantment and an almost limbo-like state of waiting. The lyrics are sadly brilliant: "Now I'm passed my prime-I wonder if we're even going to die on time. I waited for you forever."
"Almost Over" is reminiscent of early Depeche Mode or Yaz with hints of Everything But The Girl, and would certainly light up any rave or house dance party. The continuous droning of "It's almost over now" mixed with the synth-harpsichord effect is contagious and a lot of fun. It's certainly not light-hearted fare, but a great dance track, nonetheless.
The songs on "Stick Figure Guy" are not all sad and nihilistic. The ironic and almost tongue in cheek tune, "Comedy Song", has the seemingly obvious lyrics "This is a comedy song, designed to make you laugh." It's certainly not slapstick, but that line alone is strangely amusing.
J-Punch is an excellent producer who is getting more creative and credible with each new project. The ambient soundscapes,tribal rhythms and multi-layered vocals help to make "Stick Figure Guy" J-punch and Dave Moonshine's crowning achievement.