Smartly executed house, techno and electro from the Melbourne duo.
On Rebel Force, Kikos and Syawish delight in sounds some would consider cheesy—there are moments that echo boisterous elements of electro, prog house or trance, like the belching bass synth in "Central," or the pulsating arps of "Red Rock (IV Mix)" (imagine Petar Dundov driving through the outback). But there's no irony in Sleep D. Every style on Rebel Force, from new-school electro ("Special Sector") to staggered dub techno ("Reggatron"), has a sheen that makes it go down smoothly. The closing track, "Pearlescent Skyline," is a Sasha-style banger with a glimmering chord progression, the perfect mix of wistful and triumphant, that begs for a peak-time drop. It's as easy to imagine it echoing across a 20,000-person field as it is a sweaty basement.
That makes Rebel Force an unusually strong dance music album, which is even more impressive considering that, "Jazz" aside, there are no diversions or experiments. It's an LP of buoyant house and techno that wants nothing more than to make you dance. With Butter Sessions, Kikos and Syawish re-established their hometown as a dance music hotspot, fostering international connections with scenes in Vancouver, Montreal and beyond. Rebel Force underlines that globalism—it comes via Anthony Naples and Jenny Slattery's New York label Incienso—while reinforcing the duo's homegrown sound.