The 2015 film The Final Girls is one of the best horror-comedies to come out in years, sporting a stellar cast who dives into 1980s horror tropes with meta bliss. Gregory James Jenkins provided the killer score, about which he chatted with me back when it came out. Late last year Jenkins and his wife, the actress Zabeth Russell (The Office, Fresh Off The Boat, Mystic River), returned to humor-tinged music, but this time it comes with impeccable, synthy disco/synth-pop and red-hot (and often surrealistic) lyrics.
Casual Young Italians is the brilliant name of the project from the LA-based duo who met years ago on a long-haul Amtrak ride somewhere in Oklahoma. So far they’ve released singles “Robots in Love,” “It’s So Cold in Space,” and “(Talking About) Your Butt.”
Here’s a little rundown of those tracks. I like them quite a bit and am excited for what Jenkins (AKA Gregtronic) and Russell have in store for us. They manage to weave together levity and earnestness over some of the catchiest hooks out there.
“Robots in Love”
This is a love song with processed vox from both Russell and Jenkins, telling a story of the omnipotent power of undying love. The music is an evocatively pulsating blend of Badalamenti-esque pads and bitcrushed sonics that recall The Flaming Lips. There’s a segment where Jenkins does a bit of a wail that really gets me.
“It’s So Cold in Space”
This has a blast of galactic arps and a gut-punching bass line over a tight, energetic backbeat. Crank it up and you’ll easily feel a ship-shaking urge to dance. The duo again both have vocal duties, compelling each other to end their distance and be with one another; even in the stars. The hooks on this are unassailable. It’s a beautiful thing to experience — pure dance-pop bliss, really. This is what the kids used to call a “banger.”
“(Talking About) Your Butt”
This was their first single and it kicked things off with a bang. Jenkins wails about the titular tuchus over an onslaught of shiny synths and a driving rhythm section that culminate in a delightfully upbeat disco chorus. The lyrics are quite funny (and deftly crafted). Here’s an example: “I hear those muffins calling me/When I close my eyes, they’re all I see/Ya’ peaches fell from the booty tree/and I will retrieve.”
Put this cut in your mix and it’ll no doubt have the floor rattling.
Go buy these songs on Bandcamp.