The Juan Maclean have been around some time now and always on DFA records. They've been around long enough to see various trends such as electroclash, disco-punk, electro-disco come and go yet are still at it doing their own thing. There are certainly house and techno influences in this, lots of Moroder style squiggly synths and Neu-ish drum patterns. There are some crazily rock guitars attached which I'll have to get back to you about and cold post punk female vocals. Its kind of stadium disco of sorts full of vintage sunths and kraut pulses with the classic interplay you find on all the great disco records.
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John "The Juan" MacLean returns this week with album number five on DFA. This guy used to play guitar in Six Finger Satellite so him and James Murphy go way back. These days The Juan MacLean is a band which also prominently features singer Nancy Whang, and they play a highly melodic kind of electropop that's heavily informed by house and disco, with a touch of post-punk in its prominent guitar parts.
On 'In A Dream' they continue to refine their upbeat dancepop sound over nine brand new cuts, starting very strongly with 'A Place Called Space'. This track mixes insistently blooping Moroder synth with big Death In Vegas-ish guitar chords, eerie synth-drone swells and a crisply pumping '80s electro beat...in fact there are several places here when the slickly produced dance/rock crossover of bands like Death In Vegas and 808 State spring to mind. Things get a whole lot housier on 'Here I Am' which follows it, all bad-attitude vocals from Whang, alien synth swells, bumpy bass and a crisp '80s Chicago house beat. A later highlight, providing some valuable variation in tempo, is the slinky 'Running Back To You', a slowed-down disco groove with subtle echo-funk synths and dayglo swirls of bright electric drone, but the whole album is pretty strong - upbeat and polished electropop full of bright synths and an impressive armful of techno, house and disco influences.
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- In A Dream by The Juan Maclean
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