Raise your hand if you are refusing to listen to that new Daft Punk record? Well, that may only be me. Their move to make such a commercial, pop release was a total burn to the electronic stalwarts who once idolized them for doing their own thing. Now? They’re practically David Guetta. And good for them! Can’t wait until their robot helmet topped fragrance is released. What do you substitute in as an alternative to get your dance fix? Aside from the new Charli XCX or Rex The Dog or the new Disclosure single, there is an answer from LA: Classixx‘s guest filled about-damn-time debut LP Hanging Gardens. This is that *other* dance party album you’ll be hearing all Summer.
The album is a combination of two things: disco dancing synth-pop house and collaborations with vocalists who add a little depth to these songs. “Holding On”–the lead single from the album–served as an efficient tease of what to expect from the album: glossy, bright, dancefloor bass songs intended to get you to tap your foot and bob your head regardless of if you dance or not. These songs are kind of like cotton candy. They remind you of your youth (For me, listening to their remixes in college and going to all night dance parties.) and have a very sweet, non-offensive way about them. They can lack some filler but they aren’t unenjoyable. The highlights in these include the album’s serious older brother “Rhythm Santa Clara,” disco piano sun worshipping “Dominoes,” Michael McDonald does dance “Jozi’s Fire,” and surprisingly understated–and maybe the best song–“Hanging Gardens.” “Supernature” is a bit too cotton candy and “A Fax From The Beach” actually feels like a more party focused cousin to The Chemical Brothers’ on-the-move “Star Guitar.”
The collaborative songs are where you feel the band is pushing you toward most and, at points, is where they really excel. The Nancy Whang guested “All You’re Waiting For” sounds almost exactly like a song that should have been added to the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack. It is such a guilty disco pop pleasure song that you almost want to cringe because you like it. It hits almost every beautiful cliche of dance music. “Long Lost” is the most serious song, which is mostly courtesy of Active Child’s very 1980s pop-synth soulful sound, a la Jimmy Somerville performing “Smalltown Boy.” Sarah Chernoff led “A Stranger Love” and Jesse Kivel collaborated “Borderline” are similarly good while the Jeppe featured “I’ll Get You” is kind of stale since, well, it’s been floating around since 2009.
Is this album something that is going to change your life? Absolutely not. Is it anything completely new? No, not at all. Is it good? It is good! It’s a comfortable, safe, fun listen. There is no baggage or any need for it to live up to anything besides being fun. The album is long overdue, yes, but it does not disappoint. It is very vanilla and will play to every type of musical fan around. It’s positive and happy and as sunny as the Los Angeles sun. Just let this album play as you sit poolside this weekend.