Les Sins - Michael

by Justin Pearson Rating:8 Release Date:2014-11-03

Anyone familiar with the chillwave movement and its poster boy Chaz Bundick, more commonly known for his work as Toro Y Moi, should be quite pleased with his latest offering Michael, released under the moniker of Les Sins. The signature stylistics he's employed on each Toro Y Moi album are still here, but he's traded the eazy-chair for the dancefloor. Instead of just laying back and enjoying the feel-good atmosphere he's a pro at crafting, we're compelled to actually move this time around.

There's a compactness to the songs that makes each one just fine on their own or taken as a whole. They're all over the place in terms of style and mood, which is fitting for any record that wants to call itself a dance album. Each song is sized just right in its own space and not one of them ever drones on too long or becomes boring.

'Call' drops the beat as any proper club track should, and combined with the clipped, sampled vocals it calls to mind the recent work of an equally exciting current artist: Jamie xx from the xx. 'Why' featuring Nate Salman is the catchiest, sing-along moment on the album. It's just begging to be taken for a drive with all windows/top down.

For me, the track most akin to his sound as Toro Y Moi is 'Bellow'. There's an ease to it that seeps into your mind and beckons you to get up and go, to move, all the while remaining worry-free. The repetition of "I know I shouldn't tell you what I haven't told you" makes the contemplative air here meld into a kind of hypnosis, and by the time it's over you've been purged.

A standout for me, the aptly titled 'Sticky' bounces around like a pinball with its retro vibe, tight elastic beats and guitar-speak. You can almost see the glue of the past as it gets wiped away and re-applied with a Chaz Bundick brand of adhesive.

There's a distinctive, deep house vibe to 'Minato', which makes you feel naughty as you listen to it. The sex-pulse beat and broken vocal samples pull you in with its call. Sensuality is the designated driver, and if you don't already feel drunk you will once you step inside.

The weakest one here is 'Past' with its Auto-Tuned vocals and length. Being the shortest track on the album, it sort of feels like an afterthought. However, it does flow nicely into 'Toy', another slightly uneven track on a mostly straightforward dance album. The flute sounds placed throughout and the occasional robotics, reminiscent of Daft Punk, keep it from belly-flopping.

Michael is a testament to Bundick's range as an artist and willingness to venture out of the pigeonhole of the all-too-comfortable chillwave atmosphere he's usually right at home in. One can only hope he returns with another adventure as Les Sins and we can dance again.

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