James Pants – Welcome (Stones Throw/Creative Vibes)


All artists craft a certain mythos about their past that often starts to feel like a stale cliche after a while but the story of James Pants’ induction into the music arena is such a cute and dorky tale, how can I resist passing it on? It goes a little something like this…Pants is hanging out with his girl after the school prom at a Peanut Butter Wolf gig. Apparently he approached his hero on the decks and asked him if he’d like to go record shopping together and that went down real well. Since then he’ been releasing various quality mixtapes and djing around town. Now he’ signed to the well respected Stones Throw Records and is hailed as their “next big thing’.

So what’s the album like? Put your hands up for a whole lotta non-stop electro-boogie space rap disco soul. Yeah, he’ all over the place musically but that’s precisely what makes his debut album, “Welcome’ so enticing. His sounds would work equally well alongside label mates like Arabian Prince as well as some old classics from the likes of Sun Ra, Kraftwerk and Beck. There’ also no reason why you couldn’ mix it up with dirty soul tracks from the Big Boi/Andre 3000 team or synth-pop nerds like Hot Chip but I’m not too sure that he would welcome that comparison.

In “Cosmic Rapp’ he perfects the old-school synthesiser style with vocoder vocals that feature a fair bit on the album. Oh, and the film clip? It’s a low-fi, geek pie masterpiece with Pants himself starring as an Egyptian god come alien from outer space kitted out in a white suit with some mismatched leather fingerless gloves. A good deal of the clip is filmed courtesy the rotating “yum cha cam’ showing Pants and friends chowing on some dumplings in a Chinese restaurant. There’ an awkward moment when Pants decides to laser gun one of his crew in the forehead but this doesn’ stop the feasting. It’s all rather bizarre, especially the random glowing piss scene in the men’ but, love it or hate it, it shows that Pants isn’ shy of expressing his unique personality and you’ve got to respect that.

In fact, his refreshingly cheeky sense of humour is one good reason for getting hooked on this album. In tracks like “Green Rivers’ he proves that he really can’ sing but he’ got the right sound regardless as he’ out there having fun in a way that makes you just want to have fun too. He shouts in the distance, “touch me girl” with an alluring cheekiness that just might work in the right context. You never know until you try it on right?! We are yet to see whether he’ll be a timeless friend but it’s certain that “Welcome’ is more than enough to put a smile on your face and make you want to do a little dance, guaranteed.

Renae Mason


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