You wait ages for one moody electronic album to come along and then you get two.
Christine and the Queens (published shortly, or above, depending when you read this) is poppier than this, which combines the sparse electric feel of The xx with something meatier; Portishead perhaps (though the female vocals made us think of a dark Banderas).
It opens with a gloomy noise and distorted vocals, before kicking in with a dance beat that would be happy were it not for the lyrics: “Whatcha wanna be when you’re big enough to see it’s all s**t / It’s all s**t it’s all s**t.” Cheery advice for a baby but it becomes clear with subsequent lyrics: “There’s no story that can tell / A reason for a man to hit / His woman in the face.”
That’s about it for the album: dark lyrics contrasting with dance tunes that should be more about holding hands and love. That’s not always true: Wedding is darker, all tom toms and stabbing synth though what the song is about we have no idea: “Chains that sail / Ash and rope / Pay my bail”.
It’s somewhere between dance floor and chill-out, with portentous gloominess thrown in. As well as any bands you want to compare it to, it reminded us of Ben Wyatt’s deep house / techno label and compilation CDs Buzzin’ Fly, which curated classy but underground dance sounds.
If you want instant pop classics to sing along with, this is not it. It’s an album that’s not really suited to review; it’s powerful and has to be listened to as a whole. A bit like Buzzin’ Fly, there are no classics but it’s got depth.