The expectation of the new FaltyDL album is what tangent he’ll go off on next, parallel to his signature sprawling projections. His most recent form was an electronic/rave adventure on last year’s ‘The Crystal Cowboy’ as Drew Lustman, following previous cross-sections ‘In The Wild’ and ‘Hardcourage’.
Early on, ‘Frigid Air’ could have come from either of his previous Ninja Tune sessions: fantastically multi-layered, dynamic and sensory, digital-meets-rustic meanders playing nip and tuck with the dancefloor. And ‘River Phoenix’ is perhaps the FaltyDL signature for his new Blueberry label, arching and aching into something contemplative yet distracted, equal parts kaleidoscopic and of fading monochrome.
There’s a lot of that across the album; brainwaves going full speed when trying to shut down for the night. Tapping into the sweet spot of headphone space (‘Whisper Diving’) comes from the privacy of personal listening Lustman says he has long preferred; a somewhat surprising statement given the length of dancefloor he has covered previously, yet also perhaps stating the obvious in being pro-headswim. That logical conflict is heightened by Rosie Lowe anchoring album highlight, the bittersweet/fatalist virtual R&B of ‘Drugs’.
Lustman then goes back to the ‘80s, a smooth, surprising transition avoiding cheesy cliché. The album’s core couldn’t be from any other era (the bold synth stabs of ‘Infinite Sustain’), yet you shouldn’t hold pre-conceived ideas about them on that basis. With Madonna’s ‘Live to Tell’ and Martika’s ‘Toy Soldiers’ hanging round the studio, ‘Bridge Spot’ turns dodgy leisure suit sax into an edgy house cruise down the Orbital, therefore attempting to keep you on the edge of your seat indoors, as per Lustman’s wish. The vast, hexagonally drummed ‘Shock Therapy’ is definitely a Touchstone Pictures production, and ‘Fleshy Compromise’ is a future thriller with 30 years already on the clock.
The criss-crossing sounds better than ever, and is everything you’d want from a FaltyDL opus.
Words: Matt Oliver
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