Sunday, February 22, 2009

Two Thousand Eight - 7. The Presets - Apocalypso

Everyone loves Cut Copy, and I suppose that counts for me to. But in terms of albums by Australian dance music groups from 2008, Apocalypso is better than In Ghost Colors. But that's not really the point. Those are two very different records from two very different bands. People were into comparing Cut Copy to New Order, and if that's true than the Presets are Depeche Mode. The bottom line is that Apocalypso is more fun than pretty much any other records that got released last year.

Which I realize is a difficult position to defend: Apocalypso can get kind of dark. It's got that kind of odd sinister sexy as fuck sedo-masochistic vibe that not only worked for the Mode, but for some of the best Moroder fueled Donna Summer tracks, shit like "Tainted Love", take it back as far as you want and the best dance music, arguably perhaps, has a pretty strong current of darkness running through it. And talk til you're blue in the face about Hercules and Love Affair, but there's really only two good tracks on there - Apocalypso blows that shit out of the water if you take it song for song.

Obviously, my love for this record has nothing to do with originality, topicality, or anything fancy like that. The sounds on here are sounds that everyone has used before, sounds that everyone is familiar with if you've heard the stuff I hinted at earlier. And it isn't like they're doing anything new with it, so here is where we get into a nice little battle about craft vs. art. But who's saying this is art in the first place?

There's some great synth sounds on this record. That thing on "My People" that sounds vaguely like background vocals but I think is actually a synth? That thing is amazing. Groundbreaking, no, but it sounds so fucking good and who cares. There's no meaning there, necessarily, so I won't try to explain it. The point of dance music is to unlock something that you generally keep under lock and key, and it does that with sounds like that fucking "na, na, na" sounds on "My People".

And "Yippiyo-ay"? How awesome is it that they named the song "Yippiyo-ay"? That's maybe the best song title since "Song 2", in as much as a song title is meant to represent the meaning of a song. There are other lyrics in that song out of which you can easily cobble together a title. "Girl From the Creature Feature"? "Slide It In"? Those would basically capture the feeling of the song, it's general sexual notions, but "Yippiyo-ay" takes that to the next level. That song is not about sex, it's about the nonsensical euphoria of communal night club experience. These guys aren't articulate, otherwise they might have been able to put something into words that was able to really express what's going on here. "Yippiyo-ay" is damn close though. Damn close.

But they do try to do something other than just put some nonsensical lyrics on top of brilliantly brooding and impeccably produced instrumentals. And "If I Know You" is a valiant effort. The only bad thing I can say about these songs is that they're so complete, frequency wise, it's really hard to mix them in with anything else. I don't think this is why David Lee Roth was talking about, but these songs will melt your records too.

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At Mon Feb 23, 03:48:00 AM, Anonymous Millioniare Maker said...

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