Discodeine, the French partnership of producers Pilooski and Pentile, have been calling for attention with several EPs. Now they follow up with their debut, on independent label Pschent. Previous single releases have been for DFA and this sounds very much like something from that haus of discopunk. It snugly fits in with their other releases; anyone who gets a thrill out of that sort of stuff will fall head-over-heels in love with it.
For anyone not yet up to speed with the duo, this is a rather interesting collection of dance tunes, if not immediately arresting. It is essentially a disco LP that isn’t overtly in-your-face but is instead rather subtle. In fact, in certain spots, it is very downtempo. D-A almost sounds ambient, were it not for the vocals, and Homo-Compatible is a real slow burn; slowing things right down as synth lines build. This is followed by Relaps, which is essentially three minutes of filler material, and it ends with Figures In A Soundscape, a 10-minute anti-climax of shifting sounds that leaves a lot to be desired.
Uptempo moments are scattered throughout. Antiphoniem, a track that gets ever more hypnotising with repeated listens, and Ring Mutilation, complete with whirring synth lines left, right and centre, are all groovy but they’re also far from overpowering. The two best numbers are saved till the end. Invert is the first time the album lets go (track 10 of 12), and is anchored by harmonious vocals. And on the subject of vocals, Jarvis Cocker does wonders for the single Synchronise, which is the closest this album gets to something destined for the clubs with its euphoric chorus and dramatic strings.
The heavy-handed piano chords in Grace give it a lift whilst Falkenburg adds calypso steel drums to their percussion. Every play uncovers something new about the way these songs are constructed. The overall problem, though, is that it feels too conservative, lacking that certain spark that would make a good chunk of their material far more memorable.
Nothing here will raise the roof, but nor is there anything so flat as to be lacking in life. There are some highly enjoyable moments, but the consistency isn’t quite there. An all-out disco party record is waiting to be unleashed amongst it all somewhere, but Discodeine’s debut is something of a mixed bag.