I can’t get enough of the new Phoenix since it dropped yesterday. It’s literally left me smiling for hours on end. The French rock heroes are more lustrously vibrant than ever on J-Boy, a new wavey, italo disco-y, hyper jubilant, feverish glinting spectacular. It sparkles and twinkles, shimmers and swirls, twirling us around within its whirlpool of dizzying euphoria. J-Boy brings to mind some of M83′s tunes off recent album Junk. As it turns out, the long time, much loved French house purveyors have described their forthcoming album Ti Amo as being related to “summer and Italian discos”, so the M83 Junk comparison isn’t too far off the mark. A summer of effulgent italowave and retro disco sounds more than splendid to me. Ti Amo arrives on June 9th.
Pet Shop Boys - Actually [1987; Bertelsmann Club, EMI, EMI-Manhattan Records, Gong, Jugoton, Oasis Records, Parlophone]
On the Pet Shop Boys’ second commercially-available album (the first being mainly reworkings/upgrades of their demo tape’s contents), the duo deploy their detached electro disco with high polish, stirring together sharp poppy hooks, deceptively busy synth under-textures, and sardonic but direct vocals. The disconnected, floaty attitude of the music meshes well with the mechanized arrangements, as well as the occasional electronic treatments on the vocals, and while the sarcastic/manipulative angles sometimes come off a bit too strong, as with the song about shopping (“Shopping”), which spells out the title in its chorus, or the verses of “Rent”, which alternate declarations of love with acknowledgment that “You pay my rent”, the general spirit of it functions well enough.
It works so well, really, that most of the tracks blur together, using similar (if not identical) drum machines, synth pads, cadences, and verse structuring. With the apparent attitude of ‘generate consumables’ behind the songs, it makes sense, but even sincere insincerity still feels plastic, a feeling which spreads to the few songs that seem to trade in honesty, like “It’s A Sin”. It’s an interesting subversion of pop in the ‘80s, very well-produced throughout, and a few decades ahead of its time in permeating that attitude to a larger number of musical groups, but still a bit difficult to swallow without either recognizing the joke(s) or choking on the filmy slickness.
I don’t know where you’re going but do you got room for one more troubled soul?here on 8tracks
1. Bastille - Of The Night (Icarus Remix) 2. PVRIS - Smoke 3. Arctic Monkeys - Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? 4. Tinashe - Vulnerable (Pomo Remix) 5. The xx - Intro 6. Tove Lo - Habits (Stay High) (Hippie Sabotage Remix) 7. The Neighbourhood - Let It Go (Ghost Loft Remix) 8. Jeremih - Fuck U All The Time (Shlohmo Remix) 9. Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time