Borrowing from the title of free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman's maverick 1959 classic The Shape of Jazz to Come, Los Angeles-based Holychild's full-length debut, 2015's The Shape of Brat Pop to Come, is an equally maverick, if considerably less jazz-oriented comment on the state of music in the 21st century. Centered around the duo of vocalist Liz Nistico and multi-instrumentalist Louie Diller, Holychild make bombastic, often campy electronic pop. Combining the punk-informed energy of similarly inclined duos like Sleigh Bells and Ting Tings with the snotty, hip-hop-informed, electro-clash posturing of Ke$ha, Holychild hit the sweet spot where mainstream hooks and wry, left-field humor intersect. Along with memorable hooks, Holychild also have eclectic musical tastes, drawing from such disparate if amenable genres as dancehall, old-school R&B, EDM, '90s soul, and '80s new wave. To these ends, cuts like the lead-off "Barbie Nation" and the winking "Nasty Girls" are addictive pop pills coated in sugary irony that work in a duplicitous fashion as both frothy commercial product and dark, literate commentary. On "Barbie Nation," Diller coos "life" lessons to her future daughter set against gigantic synth "bwaws." She sings, "I know you and me can make it far/'Cuz the Brat from Barbie Nation, we know pure elation." Of course, all of this snarky witticism wouldn't be as palatable were it not for the duo's knack for crafting engaging songs. Ultimately, cuts like rhythmically militaristic "Running Behind" and the equally percussive "Plastered Smile," as with most all of The Shape of Brat Pop to Come, prove to be infectious numbers that marry hummable Jackson 5 hooks with the rhyming energy of schoolyard jump rope songs.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar