I Am the Beast

With lyrics like “Riding on a rocket and I’m looking for pizza/ If ya got pizza then I’m glad to meet ya/ but if not then sayonara!” (from the 2001 classic, “Pizza Rocket”), it’s understandable that James Kochalka Superstar’s music is often passed off as a novelty. Such a rush to judgment, however, overlooks how the evolving pop experiment of comic-artist James Kochalka often rocks hard. I Am the Beast is perhaps the most mainstream recording JKS has done to date, mainly because the style of music Kochalka’s riffing off—the aggro club genre of “brostep”—is one of the current dance-music flavors in favor. His experimental take would nonetheless be fairly out of place at a discotheque (but probably not as out of place as his previous work, such as 2009’s Digital Elf, composed using a Game Boy’s 8-bit sound chip). While not his best work, it is an original take on dance music, with Kochalka’s surreal imagination being applied to an aesthetic that demands booty shakin’, providing a refreshing reminder of how fun dancing for its own sake can and should be. As the frenetic opening track, “Kochalkalaka Boom,” puts it: “When I come into your town/ all the ladies gather ’round/ and the boys they come ’round too/ for the James Kochalkalalka Boom!”