The Secret Handshake / My Name Up In Lights (Triple Crown)

Luis Dubuc created laptop studio magic with 2007’s vocoder-driven sleeper Summer of ‘98. Now the self-taught Dallas musician is back with a full-length of disco-inspired party gems for electro and emo kids too cool to dance to JT.

At first listen, its easy to dismiss goofy sitcom paean “TGIF” as simply too cheesy to be ironic, with its shout-outs to Boy Meets World and Full House and its chorus: “I just want to live my life like it’s the ‘90s/Like it’s a TV show/There could be problems but we could solve them/On next week’s episode.” But really it’s just Dubuc’s mildly clever way of expressing his own, ahem, growing pains through something he can relate to—bad TV. Mostly, though, he simply sets the vibe to unpretentious ultra-lounge swing and lets loose with a string of syrupy, melodic numbers that somehow blur the very distinct line between Disney Radio sheen and hipster cool. The nu-disco anthem “What’s Wrong,” the electric stomp of “Saturday,” and the Autotune-fueled “Make Up Your Mind” all exhibit perfect combinations of simplicity, snappy grooves and pop sensibility. And it’s all served up with a synth-happy smile that may be ironic and sarcastic at times, but is always undeniably catchy.

Dave Wedge
File under: Hellogoodbye, The Presets, Chromeo