Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On a Train

Song: On a Train
Artist: Yuksek
Album: Living on the Edge of Time

French-born music producer, remixer, and DJ Yuksek's hard hitting club track "Tonight" was one of my favorites from 2009, when he released his debut album "Away From the Sea."  It was by far my favorite track on the record, which I couldn't really get in to.  But it makes his new album, "Living on the Edge of Time" all the more amazing because it has a different more new wave-rock sound than the Daft Punk-esque house of "Sea," and it is also... all good from start to finish.

Things start with the piano-based opener "Always on the Run," which again took me off guard because aside from a backbeat, it's very different in sound than his previous material.  But upon a couple listens, and wrapping my head around the album, it's really grown on me and the perfect start to such a great album.  I'm hearing, like everywhere else, an 80's influence.  But there are some odd touchstones within "Time," from Roxy Music to O.M.D.and then beyond.

"White Keys" is pretty anthemic, with it's child chorus and killer synth riff.  "Off the Wall" marries a bouncing beat with a deep dark bass line and even has a 50's doo-wop thing going on.  Crazy.  "On a Train," the first single, didn't grab me much at first, possibly because I was expecting another "Tonight," but in the context of the record I see it as a perfect choice for initial single, and one of the albums punchiest.  It reminds me of The Cars a bit in its sound and attitude.

"To See You Smile," the albums mid-point is a bit of a snooze, which makes it a bit of a surprise.  Maybe it's there just for things to come back for "The Edge," which returns the album to mid-tempo territory with a loop of a chorus and a nice new wave melody.  The banging piano from "Always on the Run" returns for the opening of "Fireworks," which then is cut with a killer guitar riff and a propulsive beat.  It's the most "Tonight" of the new tracks.

Again the rest of the album is really decent.  This is a surprise record as it has just as many, if not more, elements of English pop-rock than club music.  I even hear a little Kaiser Chief's vibe in a track like "Miracle," which works just as good pub-drinking as it would zooming in the car.  Once I got over the now-for-something-different sound of the record, it's settled in as quite a good collection of songs.  I think it elevates Yuksek from just another French DJ, to album-oriented musician.

Check this out.


On a Train

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