Album Review: Digitalism – I Love You, Dude

By on Tuesday, 28th June 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Achtung! Digitalism’s second album is named ‘I Love You, Dude’. I’ll admit, the title made me giggle: it made me think about this recent American farce and the perpetually wigged out comedy team of Cheech and Chong. However, there is nothing funny about this record. The German duo of Jens Moelle and Ismail “Isi” Tuefekci have managed to put together a sonically stellar set of 10 songs that will capture your dance-loving heart. I hope it’ll manage to do better than its predecessor, 2007’s ‘Idealism’, which hit a peak position of #6 on the US electronic album chart.

‘I Love You, Dude’ begins in with half-chilled, half dance floor anticipatory ‘Stratosphere’. When pressed, Moelle describes as follows: “It’s very summery and feels like jumping around, but in slow motion, like when the air turns into honey”. Make of that what you will. The synthtastic ‘2 Hearts’ follows, beginning minimally xx style before the vocals begin. This single has been likened to Hot Chip, Simian Mobile Disco, and even Phoenix, which strikes me as odd, because fifth track ‘Forrest Gump’ (with its chorus of “and you’re running!” of course) sounds far more like the Paris indie rock/dance band, complete with Thomas Mars-like vocals, generally flat with occasional sultry accented notes and yelps. Julian Casablancas contributed ideas for melody for this song, but can you really tell? Because I can’t. Still, this is good, just not great.

Great? How about the high-tech vibrations that characterise ‘Circles’, the definite highlight of the album: it sounds like the ideal song to put on when you’re on the treadmill for a brisk run. Of course, I imagine it’s more likely to make people sweat in the clubs, grooving to the infectious beats. Two-thirds of the way through, the vocal rises up innocently, vulnerable, before the beats lay into you again. Arms way up in the air everyone! ‘Reeperbahn’, named after the notorious red-light district of Hamburg, sports a bass line that Friendly Fires’ Ed Macfarlane would dig (a little ‘On Board’, innit?), but with a Darth Vader-like ominous vocal and (surprise!) infused with background thudding ala Pendulum. Only dance bands can break my general “no vocals = no good” rule, and in ‘Blitz’ and ‘Antibiotics’, I realise this is what I wanted last year’s Chemical Brothers album to sound like. Oh wait. This is electro house, isn’t it? Maybe that’s what my brain is reacting to.

After all these tracks that should make you get up and dance, you get the curveball that is ‘Just Gazin”, purportedly inspired by 1973 English cult film The Wicker Man. Huh? I’m confused. A+ for trying but D for the nonlinearity. However, the album is saved from premature despair with the final tracks, ‘Miami Showdown’ and the appropriately titled ‘Encore’, both sprinkled liberally with sci-fi sensibility and sounding like homages to one of the duo’s biggest influences, Daft Punk. Overall? A good effort, but the album is kind of like an aural Jammie Dodger: there are crunchy bits and there are sweet bits, both with the potential to wow. The question is, are you a biscuit kind of person, or do you prefer jam? Or both? Für mich? Ich mag beides. Err…have a listen to this and decide for yourself.

8/10

Digitalism’s ‘I Love You, Dude’ is available now from V2.

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