It still kills me a little bit that Late Night Stereo didn’t make the cut on my last tape column. In fact, listening to it again (and again as I have been recently) it’s pretty obvious I made a mistake. There’s a whole gaggle of bands/projects making music in the same vague realm as 猫 シ Corp. but this is a notch above. The production has a hazy lushness to it that is infectious. There’s nostalgic strings being pulled left and right but the leftfield funk and soul elements, all put through 猫 シ Corp.’s neon sheen, often find ways to take control. “Seifuku” is driven by wonky bass lines and bleeds into album standout “Portland” expertly. The all-encompassing feeling of “Portland” can’t be ignored. With the pitched-down vocals repeating “Feeling like a shadow in the night,” it’s easy to get sucked into this surprisingly ambitious soundworld. It’s music that messes with you – pushing buttons to garner unexpected emotional responses with a sleight-of-hand that indicates some shadowy, fraudulent driving force. This dichotomy shapes the entirety of Late Night Stereo and, with a touch of whimsy and more hooks than I can imagine, keeps it pushing on the pressure point of my psyche. A part of me wants to hate this, wants to dismiss it as some kind of post-Internet shlock, but the skill and craft involved and the hypnotic melodies throughout keep me coming back for more. Late Night Stereo is the perfect, futuristic soundtrack to late night drives in the middle of nowhere and if I’m going to time travel in style, I want 猫 シ Corp. to serenade me into oblivion.
Available on cassette and digital formats from Plastic Response.