Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The Presets- 'Apocalypso' (Modular)

The design brief of this album was undoubtedly to create something to be played in clubs, loudly. Bass rattling in your chest and synths moving the muscles as your feet tap and arms flail. As a statement of intent, opener 'Kicking and Screaming' fulfills the brief perfectly. The computer beats churn and the shouty vocals create a good sense of narrative, something too often absent from electronica.

The standard is immediately lowered on 'My People', the equivalent of the sound of a drunk man shouting in your ear about how good the music is. 'A New Sky' is much better, the choral intro working well, before the buzzing synth lines kick in and the song takes flight as it builds.

You remember that echo laden piano that was rife in early 90s dance music? Well it makes an appearance on 'This Boy's In Love', a track you can imagine soundtracking a poignant moment when a film is moving the plot on through a car journey through a moonlit city.

'Talk Like That' samples those horrorshow organ chords before breaking it down into dirty bassline with great little chord changes. 'Eucalyptus' changes the horrowshow to the chase scene, the synths buzzing away like hornets.

The tone is lowered for about the only time with 'Together', all off key sounding synths, and a bellowing vocalist who wants to be “together forever”. If I were his intended, I would get a long way away from this. Whilst criticising dance for being repetitive is like criticising cheesecake for being magnificently yummy, 'Together' takes repetition into some new realm of annoyance.

It is quickly followed by 'Aeons', which does some keyboard pootling, but is all a bit low key and quiet to fit in with the rest of the record. A downbeat note is sounded at the album's end, with 'Anywhere' tinged with sadness and plaintive vocals.

The PR blurb claims them to be “global pied pipers”. This music is bound to lure people into clubs like strangers lure kids with lollipops, a record of beats that cannot fail to make you want to cut some shapes. The flow is uneven, unusual for a dance album, but this flaw can be largely overlooked in favour of the majestic music on show here. Design brief filled.


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