Album Reviews

Gus Gus – Arabian Horse

(Kompakt) UK release date: 23 May 2011


Gus Gus - Arabian HorseAll of a sudden, stability has broken out in the Gus Gus camp – and with it we welcome another burst of their unique creativity. The band continue to release albums at an impressive rate, this being their seventh at last count, a phenomenal achievement for a dance music group.

Their second for Kompakt, Arabian Horse finds them dancing back in to the middle of the same, smoke-filled club they were in two years back on the fine 24/7, only this time they are in the company of Gus Gus royalty with the return of seasoned vocalist Earth.

Earth’s return to front three of these tracks adds yet another dimension to the emotive and tense atmospheres the band were already exploring on their previous record. And while the components of Arabian Horse are a little shorter in length than some of the monoliths that grew to take over that record, they are beautifully crafted songs that speak with direct emotion, particularly when Earth and guest Högni Egilsson cross paths.

The pick of a very strong set of tracks are the string-laced title track and Be With Me, a wonderfully organic piece of liquid house music that Earth sings beautifully. Basic human feelings come to the surface in Over, meanwhile, as she sings of how “you move me physically…spiritually…you’re my magnified love”. Only Selfoss the opener is a bit odd in the way it suddenly cuts to a gypsy music towards its close, the sudden diversion a brave move but ultimately unsuccessful.

Elsewhere we can marvel at the majestic sound production – the especially notable aspect of this release – and moody vocals, which never disappear too far up themselves. When that becomes even a faint possibility then the band return to their first principles – to make their listeners dance.

This they achieve throughout an hour of brilliantly executed music, the Icelandics showing that while we might frown on their volcanic attempts to disturb our airspace, they can have as many of our dancefloors as they desire.

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