The performance alias of Brooklyn electro-pop manipulator Ryan DeRobertis, Skylar Spence -- the artist formerly known as fun-loving (and trademark litigation-inviting) Saint Pepsi -- carries that project's playful spirit over to the new moniker's debut long-player, Prom King. However, where his sole Saint Pepsi LP was a style-focused, retro sample-heavy vaporwave work, Prom King is a more celebratory, poppy, and made-from-scratch effort, if still mixed and edited like a club DJ outing. In fact, it's nearly a synth pop album, one inspired by the lighter end of the '80s new wave spectrum, except for the continued prevalence of patchwork-style production and beat-centric instrumental tracks. Otherwise, parts of the album fall along the lines of Penguin Prison and Baio, with thumpier beats. Perhaps surprisingly, given his earlier reliance on samples, there is some decent songcraft on board alongside the foundation of beats and groove. "Fall Harder" and "Affairs" (among others, to a lesser degree) recall the '80s sophisti-pop that's all the rage by this point in indie New York, with an added dance club veneer. "Fiona Coyne" is a sophisti-disco hybrid free-form mosaic peppered with spoken word audio bits, and songwriting gives way to full-on four-on-the-floor on "Ridiculous!" and "Bounce Is Back." Sections of the album that sound sampled are apparently, for the most part, very good impersonations of samples rather than the real deal (or rather, they are the real deal rather than samples). All in all, Prom King is very even in its looseness and meep-meep, early Casio-sounding tone scheme, but somewhat uneven in its mix of fully formed pop songs and what end up sounding like remixes of other people. Still, there's no denying its effervescence, and those attracted to a nonstop groovy, choppy, cheesy mix of new wave and disco shall rejoice. ~ Marcy Donelson
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