Roosevelt - Roosevelt - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Roosevelt - Roosevelt

by Rob Taylor Rating:5 Release Date:2016-08-19

Never is my urge to prevaricate so strong as when I’m asked to comment on the resurgence of interest in 1980s MOR grooves, quaintly referred to as ‘yacht rock’ by post-everything musical historians. Anyone who really endured Hall and Oates, Christopher Cross and the Doobie Brothers, at least without prozac, will remind you just how cheesy that bile tasted. On the other hand, a lot of  transition synth groups in the early 80s, like Tears For Fears and Bronski Beat/Communards dabbled in easy groove as well, and black disco had many of the same elements, like Sister Sledge, mostly tailored around the dance floor.

Here are more hooks for you to suspend your disbelief on.

Roosevelt seems to understand that to make this MOR stuff work, you’ve got to mix it up with some sympathetic genres, like disco, funk and techno. He does this well to be honest, without striking gold. The tempo doesn’t change much, although a bit of jungle drumming (Wait Up), and jangle rock (Fever) does shift the ground beneath your glitter pumps occasionally. On ‘Daytona’ a muted techno beat accompanies the glassy electric keyboard runs; with a build-up that should sparkle up rather than fizzle out, but the track actually segues into ‘Fever’, meandering into another winsome but soporific groove.

The synth-note call and response that is stock and trade in classic MOR disco, particularly aided by some pretty funky elastic bass, is prevalent across the album. Makes for a pretty cruisy vibe. One that conveys no overt emotion, be it anger, joy, excitement, repugnance or whatever. Just ambivalence really.  

Ultimately, as polished as Roosevelt is, the mood is too one-dimensional. It’s spiffy, voguish, pastel-hued melodic dance music designed for after-parties. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s no statement of interest being made either.

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