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CAPITAL CITIES

Capital Cities, Gold Fields

CAPITAL CITIES Marrying sugar-fed melodies to analog synths, electro-pop duo Capital Cities are an intriguing mix of retro dance and up-to-the-minute execution. Meeting on Craigslist and honing their songwriting skills by cutting commercial jingles, singers Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian stormed the blogosphere with the sincere and catchy rump shaker “Safe and Sound.” Capital Cities’ bubblegum melodies resemble Passion Pit’s — if PP’s Michael Angelakos ever got over himself and took it out on the dance floor. It’s clear that Capital Cities are retro-’80s fans — Merchant admits to being a Michael Jackson maniac. Yet, they get that upbeat ’80s disco icons like Arthur Baker were a necessary response to a dire decade that witnessed the rise of Reagan and the Moral Majority. Like their funky influences, Capital Cities’ upbeat spin fills the discotheque but it’s far from mindless. If there’s any doubt, their found footage video for “Safe and Sound” drives the point home by juxtaposing pop-and-lock Danceteria moves with napalm strikes. Touring with a full band, Capital Cities take the stage in matching yellow blazers and bouncy tandem choreography, proving that dancing all over your troubles will never be old school.
— Pat Moran