Married couple Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller both came from art and design backgrounds. Kuperus has an alternate career in fashion-based photography, and its sexy yet sterile themes inform ADULT.'s cold sounds and her deadpan vocals. Miller (also a painter) moved from playing in punk rock bands to synth-pop and programming beats under various pseudonyms. ADULT.'s tracks retain the edginess of his the dance floor production experience. Throwing around globular, chunky 808 beats, topped with Kuperus' dry-processed vox, these two come off as somewhat confrontational to the audience, while simultaneously causing listeners to contort their bodies to the rhythm. Bands such as '80s minimal techno-pop artist the Normal (with their car-crash fetish anthem "Warm Leatherette") or even "synthesizers-only" punk group the Screamers influence ADULT. With this added bite to their jiggly beats, it's no wonder the duo disassociates themselves from the neo-electro clique of soft hangers-on and poseurs.
On their new full-length, Anxiety Always, the songs often deal with alienation, phobias and obsessions. Slapping those themes over a driving dance beat and making it work isn't easy, but ADULT. pulls it off in spades. The duo's artificial put-ons don't detract one iota from their power to move people on the floor. In fact, look for live bass play by Miller, and true rock-band interactivity with the audience, which should warm things up a few degrees from the brittle ice of ADULT.'s earlier singles.
Opener Magas, aka James Marlon Magas, comes from Chicago iconoclasts Couch and no-wave group Lake of Dracula, his clashing beats and dark, nasty vocals going for an update to the nihilistic growl of Alan Vega and Suicide. Nightlight's throwing a warm-up listening party on Monday evening, so you can ready yourself. Don't miss this beat connection.
ADULT. performs with Magas at Go! Studios, Tuesday, April 29.