Saturday, August 25, 2007
Swedish disco explorers Studio bridge a gap between the current wave of Scandinavian retro disco activists (Lindstrom, Prins Thomas and so on) and more song-oriented dancefloor sounds. Clocking in at a mere six tracks West Coast might sound like it might be a tad brief, as albums go, but nonetheless the album nearly clocks up an hour's worth of play time and without doubt crams in an impressive run of ideas. 'Out There' serves as an excellent opener, and itself serves as an example of the group's ability to flirt with all manner of different sub-genres. It's a piece of gloriously lurid neon audio, made up of addictive early '80s-themed passages, even dropping some 'I Feel Love'-style synth arps before switching to a skanking reggae rhythm towards the end. There's something a bit Duran Duran about 'West Side', but somehow that doesn't seem at all like a bad thing. One of the album's more concise pop numbers, 'Self Service' is a clear highlight, sounding like a cross between Saint Etienne and The Knife (but with male vocals). Offering a different slant on Studio's approach to pop, 'Origin' goes a bit Madchester, featuring some bluesy guitar riffs set to a sloppy early-nineties style breakbeat. The whole of West Coast is united by a very specific produxction sound - one which while constantly referencing retro dance music trends always sounds full-bodied and weighty in a very modern way. Splendid.