Blondes, Lover/Hater

Photo by Asger Carlsen

[RVNG Intl.]

Buy Vinyl

New York-based duo Blondes made their official debut last year with Touched, an EP that bridged epic, swirling sonics with a slow-motion synth-pop sensibility. What makes them particularly special is their propensity for surging euphoria and a clear idealization of sublime dance floor peaks, as well as their insistence on a live, jammed-out method of production. While they usually frame their tracks around dance rhythms, these tend to seem secondary next to those towering highs, more a steady pulse than a focal point. Lover/Hater, their first 12″ for RVNG Intl., is their most overt flirtation with DJs which presents a more percussive, upfront approach.

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“Lover” rides in on waves of twinkling synths, as the rhythm quickly unfolds itself. The simple bass line has a four-note, filter house feel, and the kicks are almost abnormally punchy. As the track expands, it’s saturated with chanted hi-yea’s (provided by Meredith Monk), heightening the communal atmosphere as the synths crest, everything gradually getting covered in reverb before fading out. “Hater,” meanwhile, is slightly more subdued, using a distinctly less jubilant combination of notes and a slower rhythm pattern. Coiling arpeggios are repeated and filtered as claps meet with varying amounts of echo, forming a slow syncopation with the sluggish kicks. It’s a calculated counter to the A-side, winding things down in a pensive, though still thoroughly trance-like state. Even if Blondes are looking at the dance floor with these tracks they aren’t sacrificing any of their style. It would probably take some daring to play these tracks out: their patterns are vivid and loud, embodying a miniature, fluctuating set in themselves.

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