San Francisco band Part Time have been amusing music listeners for years. Their lo-fi, unpretentious music can be quirky, even a little bizarre, but always charming. Tomorrow, they’ll be releasing a double album, Virgos Maze, which is a collection of previously unreleased recordings made by the band over the last five years. More accurately, it’s the work of frontman David Loca, who recorded, scratched, and played every instrument on every song – with the exception of five tracks. The extended compilation gives us insight into the mind and workings of Loca and his bandmates, Tonis Leal, Bill Trujillo, Bobby Dozer, and Wally Byers.
It’s difficult to capture what Part Time is trying to achieve with this album, as it’s quite expansive. The best way to describe the album is that it possesses the sounds and styles of various bands, everyone from ’80s icons like The Talking Heads and The Pet Shop Boys to ’90s/00s stars like The Flaming Lips / Wayne Coyne to contemporaries such as Mac DeMarco and Amen Dunes. It truly is a kaleidoscope of music. And like some of these artists, his music may startle and even shock at first, but then you keep returning to the song because, as is Loca’s way, the track has this understated charm. “My Honey Lips”, for instance, starts off with Loca sounding like Japanese cartoon before segueing into an ’80s-version of Paul Anka as he sings sweet nothings to his loved one. The song is different but engaging.
Love is a big theme on the album, not just in terms of expressions of endearment (like “My Jamey”) but love for everyone, such as “Fallin’ 4 U”. And Loca finds new ways to express his love, such as on “Pussy of My Dreams”, which might have some cringing during the chorus but it’s Loca’s way of saying “I love you”. The track itself is pretty great.
These tracks fall in line with the whimsical indie music that Mac DeMarco, Homeshake, and many others are currently making. “It’s Elizabeth“, “Virgos Maze”, and “New Beginnings” fall in this category.
Stylistically, as mentioned before, Loca heads in a number of directions. The most surprising is his take of ’80s synth-pop, although he pulls it off with aplomb. “Strangest Eyes”, “Was It Real” (which channels Devo), “It’s Too Late”, “Touch Me Responsibly” (echoing New Order), and “Ganz Wien” (hello Pet Shop Boys!) would below on any 80s compilation of hits.
For that matter, listening to this album takes the listener back to the era of videotapes, cassettes, big hair, acid washed jeans, neon colors, and VANS and Ocean Pacific apparel. If you didn’t live during this time, here’s your chance to hear what the music sounded like at the time, except spun by an underrated songwriter.
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