Where to start? Here’s another group hiding their identities from view. It’s an old trick that doesn’t really hold much suspense, following in the footsteps of so many other artists who have tried the same trick. Once the reveal arrives it’s usually met with a fake smile – it’s like when your Grandad reached into his coat pocket telling you he had a surprise for you, only to pull out a Worther’s Original. It only delivers the same kind of mystery that can be applied to how eating food results in taking a dump a few hours later. The reasons behind why they selected to remain from view is usually to build hype as people speculate on who they are, or its to allow the music to do all the talking, stopping the music press from rapidly watering them down to nothing, which in the age of the Internet allows for a prolonged lead up to the eventual release of an album. By holding something back they avoid being burnt out by the press and they can maintain some control over their development. Just look at what happened to the rush that was Lana Del Rey’s hurried album release.
However, we believe there’s more to this story than the protagonists simply allowing the music to do all the talking. We are aware that this belief is pure conjecture, only fuelling the hype that they so desire, fulfilling the prophecy that we are so clearly bored of, but allow us to indulge ourselves for a moment. What we do know is that the group are made up of a global collective of four producers, from Paris, Los Angeles and New York. They met in Boston and are now based together in Brooklyn. That’s pretty much all the information we have to date, except for the fact they send out their own emails, rather than going through a label – they confirmed to us that they have “no word on a label just yet“, which doesn’t necessarily mean they remain unsigned – or through a PR company. Oh, and those emails are signed off by the name Zach, (*hurriedly searches the Internet for producers with the first name ‘Zach’*).
Prior to this week they’d let loose three tracks, Small Boxes, Gold Chain and Older Together. All three songs were so exceptionally awesome that holding back from writing them up on The Recommender, until we knew more about the group, was virtually impossible, but alas we patiently waited. Zach kept sending them through to us one by one, but he resisted our questioning and so the post never arrived on this blog’s pages. We were like a child holding their breath until our parents handed us the sweets we so desired. This delay became rather pointless this week after Zach sent us their new song, Leave It All. With our cheeeks puffed and our faces turning purple, we simply had to breath out and give in. The first three tracks were good, very good in fact, but this new one is simply divine. The parents always win the battle, right? Right. With this mysterious group the music does indeed supersede any lack of information, forcing us to finally paste them all over The Recommender.
The older songs are a heady blend of perfectly-produced pop, with a variety of pace and power, always masterfully applied, like the foot of a Formula One driver upon his accelerator pedal. Small Boxes is the slower of them all, with more delicate keys and a weighty beat. The light vocals are expertly applied as if being waved on top like silk bed linen. Gold Chain throbs in pulses like the waft of a light sabre, admiring the kind of styled synth music that always channels the 80s, but here it’s done with such class that it never seems overly-reflective or tacky. Older Together, their most exciting song to date, has earned them over six and a half thousand ‘hearts’ on Hype Machine, delivering their usual aerated pop with an alternative edge. And so to the new tune, Leave It All, which we noticed is already at number six on Hype Machine, (at time of going to press), after just one day. When this group release a track thirty or forty blogs write them up as standard, so exciting are their productions. Again this tune delivers. It has more bounce and introduces riffing where before there was none, hitting wonderful heights with its chorus. This is pop at it’s most irresistible. It’s not childish, it treats the listener like an adult, and it manages to balance radio-friendly hits using accessible synths and song structures, whilst still maintaining elements of darkness and maturity.
Their formula is so successful it leads us to thinking that this is an experienced set of producers, and herein lies our speculation. Is this a super-group, made up of people known to us in other guises? Is this the real reason behind why they’re holding back their identities? Is it not in fact about mystery and hype, or letting the music speak for itself, like so many of those other mystery projects, but rather it’s actually about stopping us from seeing a batch of already-established producers behind it all? Would the truth water down the hype? If we knew they were people already established in the industry would this simply seem like a side-project? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We don’t know. Damn you Zach, whoever you are.
With such a polished production and with a batch of releases this consistently bright and clever it does suggest they know what they’re doing at the very least. Such a global collaboration as this also suggests they have some reach, although these days the distance of geography is squashed by the Internet. The album is currently being completed and should see light later this year. Short of them wearing masks, their identities may finally be acknowledged when they play a set of live shows around the New York area in May (tickets are available for their Glasslands show here). Somebody please go along on our behalf? Take a camera, try and get to speak with them. Really, anything. It seems that the problem we have with them is not the mystery, but that the music is in fact so damn irresistible! It’s a lesson to all those artists out there who might be planning to hide their identities – just work on getting the music right and you will indeed win. Resistance has never felt so futile. (MB)
BLACK LIGHT DINNER PARTY – LEAVE IT ALL
BLACK LIGHT DINNER PARTY – OLDER TOGETHER