A move down the East Coast seemed to change Barera's trajectory. His releases as of late—including an EP for Physical Therapy's Allergy Season label—have been more robust. He runs a party called Jack Dept. with Volvox, another former Boston resident. These factors might have bled through to his and Martin's latest LP. Proceed To The Root ramps up the tempo and knocks even harder, turning their gleeful hands in the air into pumping fists.
The LP doubles down on the immediacy that made the duo's work stand out, but it's also more functional and has lost a smidge of personality. These tracks don't take any time to warm up; generally speaking, the opening bars will give you a solid indication of what's to come. They almost always come rocketing out the gates with bumpy low-end and choppy hats, and almost always strip back the drums and bassline at some point to reveal granular details before rebuilding the structure.
Proceed To The Root works best when Barera and Martin strike out into new territory. "Berlin By Candlelight," their most obvious punt for the techno arena, careens forward with juddering kicks and alien effects going off left, right and centre. Jazzy keyboards dance atop crashing toms on the title track before swerving into a funky electro-bass midsection. It could have come from another record entirely—perhaps Glenn Underground finding his footing in sleazy boogie—and is the most fun to be had across the entire LP.
The album provides solid club wares elsewhere, unleashing thick, techy stabs on "Golden Hour" and deploying breaks on "Night Train." The closing "No Games" is an interesting switch-up, with phased effects and a dubby lilt, but they can't resist adding the usual sharp claps into the mix. Leaving behind some of their usual tropes might have served this track better. Proceed To The Root sometimes seems caught between old and new—it doesn't nail either as often as we've come to expect.