We’ve been waiting a long time for this. In the four years that have somehow passed since debut release OK Cowboy, the star of Pascal Arbez’s Vitalic alter ego has burned ever brightly, as he has reminded us in searing live performance.
So it’s good to report that he’s come back with a belter, an album that picks you up by the shirt lapels and sets you down in a quivering wreck some 45 minutes later. In that time we go on a dark and twisted journey of electro, with bass lines that cut like knives through butter and glacial, almost robotic vocals.
This is essentially the Vitalic disco album, one that’s taken elements of Donna Summer and Blondie to mix in with its metallic, edgy sound, while the instrumentals thrust forward, rapier like, forging a path to the middle of this particular futuristic dancefloor.
What is most impressive about Arbez this time around is the way he’s made a record that sounds like it’s out of control, but is in fact totally the opposite. Every nuance is carefully calculated with a robotic precision, the riffs introduced at just the right time and pitch, the vocals cooing with icy precision in tracks such as the striking Poison Lips.
There are some no holds barred, lose yourself party moments here (step forward Second Lives and One About One) but these are cleverly countered by more subtle moments, with Still exhibiting a strange grace and beauty. Arbez has clearly thought about the whole structure while writing the components, so that the record effectively goes round in a circle, ready to start the sweaty action all over again.
So for a second album, Vitalic impresses hugely with a sharp nailed finger on the pulse, though this one is even better than the first. It shows more strings to his bow, with full on reckless hedonism mixing freely with cool electro. It’s a heady, intoxicating brew.