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With just six singles to his name in seven years, it’s clear Vincent Pierre Claude Belorgey doesn’t believe in rushing things. Of all the French electro massive, only the similarly tardy Daft Punk have a more painstaking approach to song construction and more gloss to their sounds. And yes, that DP comparison is unavoidable – this album really does take ‘Discovery’ as its jumping off point: not just in the glossy 80s synth textures that run through it (Belorgy once claimed to have made an entire album on the Yamaha DX7, the default keyboard of high-end 80s pop and soul) but in the soft rock vibes that pop up on several tracks.
Where recent Justice releases have turned the rock/electro crossover into something raucous, crunchy and sweaty, this, like ‘Discovery’, does something altogether slicker with its nods to Van Halen and Brat Pack soundtracks, the wailing soloing of ‘ProtoVision’ and the powerchords of ‘First Blood’ sounding more “helicopter shots of guitarist on mountain top” than “smelly moshpit”. That’s not to say that this is just a ‘Discovery’ clone, though – far from it.
There is a powerful and distinct musical personality at work here, and a real darkness behind the gloss. ‘Outrun’ is a concept album of sorts, with themes of ghosts, sports cars and cities at night; in lesser hands it could be gratingly arch and kitschy, but Belorgey pulls it off, his slow, sinister beats and massed instrumentation creating a truly scary thriller (and occasionally ‘Thriller’) atmosphere. There are guest vocals, ranging from sinister MCing on ‘Suburbia’ through Lovefoxx’s deadpan electropop intonation playing off a terrifying distorted vocoder on ‘NightCall’ and a full-on soft rock bellow on ‘First Blood’. It’s not perfect – a couple of tracks slightly overdo the asthmatic-sounding compression – but mainly it’s a really impressively consistent and well-structured listen, and definitely worth the wait.
File under Classic Gallic Electro
Download ‘Suburbia’, ‘Testarossa Autodrive’, ‘RoadGame, ‘Endless’
Like this? Try Com Truise ‘Galactic Melt’ (Ghostly International)