Karmin, ‘Pulses’

Judging from its long delayed full-length debut, Karmin can’t quite decide whether it wants to fully embrace pop with extra cheese or comment on the genre ironically. Vocalist/MC Amy Heidemann and multi-instrumentalist Nick Noonan offer 14 songs that linger as long as a Snapchat photo. Of course many pop thrills are ephemeral, but this is a weightless collection filled with numerous trite lyrics (intentionally campy?) and melodic ideas nicked from better dance, hip-pop, or retro new-wave sources. Clearly, the tepid reception to last year’s hybrid single “Acapella” (included here) forced the duo to focus more on straightforward fizzy tunefulness. Sometimes, the innocuous stabs at shimmering summer hits (“Hate to Love You,” the neo-disco “I Want It All”) are ingratiating. But they miss badly elsewhere, especially with the contrived title track, where Heidemann recycles her bargain basement Nicki Minaj flow, and a pedestrian “Puppet” (which actually sounds like a subliminal ode to S&M). The result is a record with zero vision or identity. (Out Tuesday) KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Hate To Love You”


Ken Capobianco can be reached at