During his 2012 SXSW keynote speech about the fracturing of music into endless sub-genres, rock legend Bruce Springsteen asked the question, "What the fuck is Nintendo-core?"
"Sidescroller," the opening track on Peter Goes to Law School, the debut EP by Boise/Moscow band The Dirty Moogs, would be a good response.
The driving beat and chirping melody sounds like it's plucked straight from a classic Nintendo game. But rather than playing on an endless loop that makes you crazy as you repeatedly fail to make the leap across the chasm or kick the turtle in the face, it skips along for the requisite three minutes then ends, allowing it to thrive as a driving low-fi electronic pop song.
Later on the album, "Sidescroller Boss Fight Remix," really ramps up the video game nostalgia. Children of the '80s might look over their shoulders to be sure Dr. Wily isn't about to ambush them from behind.
However, the bulk of Peter Goes to Law School leans more toward pop than video games, blending the sounds of 1960s experiments in electronic music with modern songwriting and song structures. It's more Kraftwerk than The Faint, but there are definite comparisons to early Depeche Mode.
The catchiest number on the disc is the second track, "Tight Tight Pants," which drops straightforward major chords over a dance beat and a gargle of a bassline, frosting the concoction with catchy lyrics about the perils of tight pants; "How do you romance?" The slower pace and watery texture of "Julie's an Android" is also quite catchy.
The four songs and two remixes on Peter Goes to Law School don't switch things up much stylistically from track to track, part of the trappings of building a band (and brand) around a particular instrument (the Moog synthesizer). Though Peter Goes to Law School is only an EP, there is obvious care put into the details, which makes it a satisfying listen that feels more substantial and developed than the average EP.