How long can one suspend disbelief? That’s the principle question raised by “A Saturday in November (feat. Kim Ann Foxman),” KiNK‘s & Neville Watson’s latest release on Rush Hour sub-label Hour House Is Your Rush. The two-track release explores a retro-hued territory that doesn’t just wax nostalgic, but instead strives to disappear from the present and place itself squarely in the past. Granted, it’s an aesthetic that has consistently worked for the duo on club-rocking instrumental tracks like the acidified “Inside Out” and techno-hued “Blueprint.” But, in the case of “A Saturday in November,” the formula just doesn’t work.

The single is broken up into two sides: a vocal cut and a dub. The overall vibe of the record is evocative of a loose stew of late-’80s New York underground dance conventions—freestyle, latin house, Chicago house, and garage are all well represented. This is particularly evident on the dub side, which features a drum pattern lifted straight from Orange Yellow’s “Dreams of Santa Anna,” a churning Mr. Fingers bassline, and sound effects that could be described as “Fairlight-esque.” Yet, though the release scores great marks for its instrumental sequencing, ultimately it’s let down by Kim Ann Foxman’s vocals, which unfortunately manage to sound both too retro and not retro enough. She accomplishes this by flatly singing a chorus with such tired exhortations as “time to move it,” “let the rhythm groove,” and (the particularly cringe-worthy) “house that body right.” It’s a shame, because a large part of what made the music of that period good was the intense vocal pyrotechnics and dynamic range of divas and other church-choir-trained singers (sampled or otherwise). It wouldn’t be such a problem, but the vocals just take up so much space on both sides. We can’t help but wonder why they released this one without the complete instrumental take as well.