i wrote this review a few months ago for publication in analogue magazine, but alas it never went to print. i never did anything with it so i figured i should post it ahead of the guys’ performance at kennedy’s tonight. see you there.
The problem with reviewing albums like Golden Traxe is that it’s hard to tell if what sounds good at home will sound good in a club. Signed to Boys Noize Records in 2007, Liverpool duo Shadow Dancer have been putting out tracks and remixes that fit in with the noisy electro sound of that label. Thankfully, they have managed to create an album that, as well as being full of certified club bangers, also makes sense on the headphones. Unlike much of that label’s output, most of the tracks on Golden Traxe are more than just functional club music. Across 12 tracks they’ve managed to fit in a host of sounds and influences, and not in any way that implies musical pilfering. The closest comparison that seems appropriate is to Mr. Oizo, as, like the eccentric Frenchman, they operate in a manner that combines the sublime, the ridiculous, and the just plain silly. The title track has a hint of funky house, Be Happy sounds like space-age filtered disco, while Lower Left incorporates elements of proper acid house. All of these influences come together without ever sounding forced, and each track manages to have its own “Shadow Dancer” sound. Here is an album for fans of electro, but one that can be appreciated in both daylight and darkness.