Since its inception in 2008, Andrew Field-Pickering's Future Times label has been one of the most idiosyncratic outposts of electronic music in the US. A big part of its musical identity has been the work of Field-Pickering himself, whether solo as Maxmillion Dunbar or with his partner Ari Goldman as Beautiful Swimmers. Following the release of Field-Pickering's excellent LP, House Of Woo, in February, he and Goldman return to Future Times for their first album as Beautiful Swimmers, Son.
Taken together, House Of Woo and Son play like soundtracks for different stretches of a summer barbecue. Where House Of Woo used its languid approach to house for a kind of beautiful retro-futuristic hypnotism, Son has more of a sense of humour, swinging from weirdo disco to a kind of new age boogie swing. In fact, the duo seem to offer us a wry mission statement for Son in the opening sample of the string-laced stormer "Joyride": "the most beautiful thing in the world is smoking pot and fucking on a waterbed at the same time."
As that time-stamped sentiment might lead you to believe, there's a sense of nostalgia running through these tracks, but somehow it never intrudes on Beautiful Swimmers' floor-oriented levity. There are tracks, like the opener "No!" or the horn-fueled dance grind of closer "Big Coast," that might be confused for Factory Records 12s from the mid-'80s. The cheeky "Easy On The Eyes" slowly moves through soft-core porn music, while "New Balance" sounds like a stubby house remix of something from Beverly Hills Cop. But, for all of their playfulness, Beautiful Swimmers always had a way of ensnaring you in their head-nodders, and often that's where Son sounds most commanding.
Included here is 2009's "Swimmer's Groove," with its opening lifeguard whistles and funky, hand-clap breaks all littered around the track's silky guitar sway. Similarly propulsive are "Cool Disco Dan," whose sweaty hip-hop groove and insistent synth melody are undercut by the distant wail of some lost children's choir, and the aforementioned "Joyride." You might not get as much mileage out of Son as you did out of the Maximillion Dunbar album, but this is one of the year's better top-down stereo blasts.
Tracklist: Beautiful Swimmers - Son01. No!
03. Swimmers Groove
04. Running Over
05. Easy On The Eyes
06. New Balance
07. Cool Disco Dan
09. Dream Track
11. Big Coast
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