Benoit & Sergio have always kept pop music at arm's length. They bury their melodies in weird effects, mumble their way through hooks or just square everything on the groove. It's a formula that's allowed them to keep their feet planted firmly in the house music world—but it's easy to wonder "what if?" What would they sound like if they really let their Christopher Cross flags fly?
New Ships, their second EP for Visionquest, brings us somewhat closer to the answer. Still ensconced in a psychedelic blur, these three tracks somehow feel less dazed than usual. (Just listen to the uncharacteristically incisive bassline on "Lipstick & Lace.") Parsing yacht rock, nu-disco and slick 80s pop, "Not In Your Nature" is the kind of song we've been waiting for Benoit & Sergio to make since "Full Grown Man." It's nonchalant, it's tantalizingly slow and it's utterly deadly. Guitar licks scratch at supple chord washes as vocal phrases recline lazily over the filtered ooze; it's a tropical paradise.
But just as you're reveling in the luxury of it all, the duo send you reeling into triumphant string samples with "New Ships." The wistful is minced with delirious cheeriness, as downcast lyrics ("nooses around my neck...") are thrown at a wall of guitars and hyperactive synths. Just like their best music, it's hard to find your footing as you're being assaulted by wave after wave of viscous synth—but it's harder than ever to care when each of those tracks is meticulously crafted pop magic, impossible to make sense of but effective all the same.
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Tracklist: Benoit & Sergio - New ShipsA1 Lipstick & Lace
A2 Not In Your Nature
B New Ships