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  Kiss Yr Frenemies
  Illuminati Hotties
  Tiny Engines  
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Illuminati Hotties is the stage name of Sarah Tudzin. I like the alliteration in the band name and also the sort of contradictory image that it implies. And by that i simply mean that no one looks like a "hottie" in a tinfoil hat...

Ms. Tudzin (if that is her real name!) sings and plays a kind of light folkish pop. There seems to be a lot of these kinds of artists these days. I would lump this release is with Anna Burch, Adult Mom, Remember Sports, Bear Grass, and maybe Japanese Breakfast. Huh. With the exception of Ms. Burch who uses her real name (as far as we know) each of those are bands based around a female singer-songwriter -- or at least that's what they want you to think!.

So, Ms. Tudzin makes pleasant pop with female voice in a way that seems very "of the moment". She is riding that zeitgeist and, well, it works more often than not.

The millennial themed Kiss Yr Frenemies is a brief intro, less than a minute of pleasant guitar. It pops suddenly into (You're Better) Than Ever which is a really catchy pop tune.

On Shape Of My Hands Tudzin sings another poppy little number, but here twists her voice into odd shapes around the words, a la Adult Mom.

The track is different, as Tudzin takes verves left into electro. (I mean, if it really was her who made this one and not, i dunno, the Zeta Reticulans!) Anyway, Cuff starts with a faint sample, then a lazy beat chugs in, her guitar slippery on the strings as she sings languidly. This song actually bears a hint of resemblance to the first Heather Duby record. But on the chorus Tudzin stomps her overdrive pedal and yells. I like this one.

Tudzin channels a hint of My Latest Novel on For Cheez (My Friend, Not The Food). The songs tarts off light and delicate with a delicate little riff and some hushed vocals, and then slowly builds to a frenzy with horns layered behind her voice. Very nice.

On Paying Off The Happiness Tudzin sings about being 24 and still making rookie mistakes... That reminds me: stay offa my lawn! (Editor's note: PostLibyan is so senile he forgets that he lives in a condo and does not have a lawn.) But this is another happy and catchy tune.

Patience is a pretty traditional pop tune. The guitars shine and grind, and Tudzin sings more plainly than she does on many of the songs. It's decent, but not her best work.

Tudzin strums her acoustic and returns to the folk roots on The Rules. There are even backing vocals and strings. This is a pretty song. She takes is all one step farther with boi which sounds like she recorded it with just her acoustic and a cassette recorder. It's lofi folk that less than a minute.

She plays something like punk on Pressed 2 Death, a crazy song that is all over the place, slowing down, speeding up, getting loud, bouncing around. This reminds me a lot of Remember Sports, and it mostly works.

And finally, the record wraps up (or does it?) with the piano ballad Declutter. Her voice and faint piano noise has a slightly melancholy tone... It ends an otherwise exuberant album on kind of a downer note...

But it's a good record. At least, that's what they want you to think!

One side note to this review that i feel i should mention: i think that i might be conflating "the Illuminati" with some general conspiracy theory nonsense. I am not into that sort of thing at all, but i have had to listen to my brother rant about "chemtrails" and "the Illuminati" during Thanksgiving, so all of that stuff just blurs together in my mind. If i have offended any reader who was hoping to hear about the actual Illuminati: please, get help.

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