Portstewart duo Team RKT (Kit Grier and Rory Powers) strive to meld the sound of a 1989 Gameboy with modern guitar pop. Handled competently the resulting output should lie somewhere between chiptune genre standard bearers Anamanaguchi and fellow Northern Ireland peers Wonder Villains.
Unfortunately Team RKT’s hybrid pop gets flattened by some falling barrels before hurtling of a cliff into a spiked pit of mediocrity. The ‘Cat Island’ EP fails to capture either the saccharine sweetness of anime pop or the atmosphere of retro games. It’s so disposable that it makes Aqua look like Grinderman.
Title track Cat Island sets out their stall with the gamey bleeps being backed by xylophone and the dayglo pop brings to mind Hello Kitty from Avril Lavigne (which isn’t even much of a benchmark to aim for). From there on in, there is a surprising lack of variety from See – Through to This Is Not The End with only minor tweaks in tempo, song structure or style.
The dayglo choruses try to pack in an energetic enthusiasm but the big pop hooks just aren’t there. It needn’t be that way and even some C64 games had more catchy eight bit tunes then the faux nostalgia on ‘Cat Island’. The intro to This Is Happening hints that it’s going to finally turn into something more substantial but alas, it too becomes forgettable. A greater concentration on melody would yield songs that grabbed your attention but Team RKT seem intent on sticking religiously to their anime and gaming credentials.
Chiptune pop is an acquired taste but after repeat listens the ‘Cat Island’ EP can’t even be considered a worthwhile entry in this genre. The absence of any distinctive melodies and lack of variety in the eight bit style effects is enough to send even Donkey Kong into a rage. For the average listener this is best avoided.