Putting together an exceptional indie-electronic album today is no easy feat. With the rise of critically and commercially successful acts such as MGMT, TV on the Radio and Shiny Toy Guns, it’s hard to compete. Nonetheless, Ann Arbor, Mich., natives My Dear Disco throw their hats in the ring with their debut album DanceThink LP. Yet this seven-piece Michigan ensemble is a tough one to pigeonhole; blending rock, funk, jazz, techno and pop, My Dear Disco has categorized their unique sound as “DanceThink Music,” hence the title of their first release.
Blending fierce guitar riffs and an impressive percussion arsenal with a psychedelic-at-times synthesizer, robotic vocoders and a plethora of other random instrumental contributions, My Dear Disco diligently strives to squash any preconceived notions of dance music you may have. “White Lies” is the perfect opening track. It grabs you right from the start, makes you want to bust out some glow sticks, throw on some spandex and bust a move. Lead female vocalist Michelle Chamuel’s voice, while not emotionally arousing by any means, is delightful and sweet, which offers a nice juxtaposition to the intense disco beats. Yet the album loses steam quickly, until track four rolls around. The opening riff of “Amsterdam” sounds like a Devo song, and is by far the most chorus-rich, radio-friendly track on the album. It boasts everything a solid dance track needs: an intense drum beat, rock-influenced guitar solos, a chorus that’s easy to sing along with and, most of all, it makes you want to move.
“M.Y.F. (Move Your Feet)” is exactly the type of closing track that this album needs. With so much filler clogging up the tubes, “M.Y.F. (Move Your Feet)” is precisely the kind of track that DanceThink LP needed to pull out a solid finish and redeem this young Midwestern band. While melodically a little inconsistent and slightly jumpy, it’s fun and funky and a little retro.
Save for a few songs, My Dear Disco’s debut effort severely underwhelms. It boasts a handful of iPod-worthy tracks, but isn’t that notable of a musical endeavor overall. While it is a noble effort to maintain such an eclectic approach, My Dear Disco fail to separate themselves from most M.O.R. dance music. Superficially entertaining, lacking depth and emotion, DanceThink LP does, in part what it claims: It might make you dance, but it won’t make you think.
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