Swingset – Young Armstrong

Young Armstrong

Quick: When someone says “space travel,” what’s the first thing that pops in your mind? 2001, you say? The Space Shuttle? If you happened to say “Barbarella,” then this disc might be just what you’re looking for. (And for the record, God help you.)

The theme of this four-song EP seems to be space exploration: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and NASA(?) are thanked in the liner notes. (This is a pretty lame thing for a Japanese band to do. Doesn’t anything cool happen in Japan?) However, what immediately comes to mind is the outdated concept of the “space-age bachelor pad.” As far as 60’s nostalgia goes, these songs sound more authentic than the “Austin Powers” soundtrack cuts. Adding to the kitsch factor is a kooky Japanese vocalist doing his best to approximate English.

The problem I have with the disk is that I’m laughing at Swingset, not with them. I don’t appreciate the irony of 20-somethings reveling in lounge music that even our parents found uncool. While this might make good background music at a party, I don’t throw many parties. And when I do throw parties, my guests sure as hell don’t sit around sipping Manhattans, pretending they’re urban sophisticates. As is the case with Pokemon, Japan should have kept this to themselves.