Though they contained plenty of electronic bliss, many of Seattle producer Jeff McIlwain's past albums as Lusine had a certain restlessness—they always seemed determined to wriggle free of conventional structures. This might suggest a feeling of discontent on his part—after all, why try and invent something new if you're happy with the way things are? By contrast, his eighth Lusine album feels like a very contented record indeed. The Waiting Room mostly glows with warm satisfaction, free of the melancholy that coloured albums like 2007's Language Barrier.
Yet even if The Waiting Room is his most conventional album to date, McIlwain hasn't entirely abandoned his more experimental airs. He still approaches the concept of a pop song like a scientist with a scalpel, and the most orthodox song here—a cover of Electronic's classic "Get the Message"—is also the least successful, a simplistic synth-pop reworking that pales against its source. His original songs are much better. Female voices are both more prevalent across the album and predominant in the mix than before, yet still work best when adding definition to the music rather than providing the main focus, whether they're hovering over the beats of "Without a Plan," rising alongside the synth line in "By This Sound," or flecked across the straight-up deep house track "Lucky."
Although nothing is above a pace you'd call perky, the strolling beats of "Another Tomorrow" sound confident and surefooted. But while McIlwain is operating within more rigid structures, another hangover from his ambient productions is that he can sometimes sound a bit directionless. "Stratus"'s rippling bleeps are by far the album's most kinetic moment, yet as the song builds without ever really dropping, it begins to feel less like mounting tension and more like someone that doesn't know where to go, ultimately just fading out. Far more effective are "Panoramic" and "February"—both of which come closest to dance floor abandon. Yet for all that the happiness The Waiting Room exudes, it seems more subtle and sedate than out-and-out euphoric.
Tracklist: Lusine - The Waiting Room01. Panoramic
02. Get the Message
04. On Telegraph
05. Another Tomorrow
06. Without a Plan
07. First Call
08. By This Sound