Vitalic - Rave Age

The best moments here are when the beats are heavy and obvious.

It’s been 3 years since French techno producer Vitalic’s (aka Pascal Arbez) last album ‘Flashmob’, and here he returns with ‘Rave Age’, produced by Stephane Alf Briat, best known for his previous work with Air and Phoenix. The new release begins auspiciously enough with the stonker ‘Rave Kids Go’; with a simple series of words “when the city comes alive / the streets are filled are joy / the kids are joining us / ready for the rave?”, it seems custom made to be a permanent Friday night anthem. While many similar tunes tend to be well and in some cases over-polished that you practically wince from the shiny gloss on the surface, there’s a rawness to the track, and indeed, many of the others on this album that comes across as endearing and unpretentious.

The best moments here are when the beats are heavy and obvious, propelling the songs along with seemingly boundless energy. It wouldn’t be a dance album with some instrumentals, and on ‘Rave Age’, Vitalic brings it. ‘No More Sleep’, sure to be a club classic very soon, is the highlight of this collection, sounding huge in its build-up and wub wub wubs. (It’s slightly less obvious cousin, ‘Next I’m Ready’, is nearer to the end of the album). ‘Vigipirate’ is a heady mix of beats and effects that buzz and swirl. Not to be confused with the ‘80s era Madonna song of the same name, ‘Lucky Star’ brings out a disco beat that will definitely get bodies bumping.

There are some apt title choices on ‘Rave Age’. As its name suggests, ‘Stamina’ would work well as part of a high-impact cardio mixtape. ‘Le Mort Sur le Dancefloor’, starring the Gallic shouts of Rebeka Warrior of electroclash outfit Sexy Sushi, is every bit as edgy and dangerous as the title sounds. The March of Skabah’ is just begging for a video game to name a character Skabah, just so whenever the character appears on your computer screen, it will play in the background.

Less effective are the ‘reflective’ dance numbers. For example, take ‘Fade Away’, which sounds like Arbez trying to channel Alphaville back in the ‘Forever Young’ days. ‘Under Your Sun’ features the beautiful vocal talents of French singer and Kitsuné discovery Owlle, but this feels too dancefloor-lite. The futuristically titled ‘Nexus’ is interesting but takes too long to climax. The album ends rather unsatisfyingly with ‘The Legend of Kaspar Hauser’: perhaps it’s placed at the end to round off the album in a chill way? In this case though, it ends the album on a far too serene note. While there certainly are some massive tunes in here, there are too many other instances that make you wonder what might have been.

Tags: Vitalic, Reviews, Album Reviews

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