Unfairly overlooked in his Noughties heyday, Juan MacLean returns with the first album under his eponymous electronica project the Juan MacLean in half a decade. His long friendship with one James Murphy probably tells you enough about what it sounds like. Contains the single ‘Zone Non Linear’, and is released by the legendary DFA imprint.
Vinyl Double LP £21.50 DFA2647LP
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CD £9.99 DFA2647CD
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While Juan Maclean is obviously the main force behind the Juan Maclean, using that name is beginning to feel a bit weird given how fundamental Nancy Whang has become to the project. If those names are at all familiar, it’s because they’re both part of James Murphy’s vehicle, LCD Soundsystem. And both Maclean and Whang bring the energy they add to Murphy’s project to ‘The Brighter The Light, the Juan Maclean’s fourth album.
Maclean brings his synths and his compositions. His ability to make shiny sounds and arrange them in such a way that will get your foot tapping. It’s the usual mishmash you’d expect from a New York dance duo, a bit of disco, a bit of house, some post-punk ambivalence for the rules. And yeah, that are meant to bang bang, and the tracks that aren’t don’t.
On the banger side of things is ‘You Are My Destiny’, which sees Whang singing are ludicrously infectious nursery rhyme hook while Maclean lays down some high energy deep house rhythms. ‘Zone Non Linear’ is much more disco, and features an appropriately more insistent Whang.
On team non-banger is ‘The Quiet Magician’ a spacey little chill out track that breaks up the album nicely. It’s followed by ‘Pressure Danger’ which is welcomingly messy and weird amidst the rest of the pristine production.
‘The Brighter The Light’ is a lot of fun, but it’s probably time the Juan Maclean became the Whang Maclean.
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