Posted by: Jimmy For Reals on May 25, 2014
Photo by Victor Van Der Griendt
Whilst it might be early days to make such a call, David Douglas seems to be one of those ridiculously talented musical savants with the effortless ability to turn anything he touches into gold. He even has that real name thing going on, something which leads me to suspect that he has absolute confidence in the music he makes and doesn’t feel the need to represent himself through the medium of a catchy pseudonym. Of course that’s unnecessarily presumptuous, for all I know he’s as uncertain of his merits as anyone else, but going on his output to date it seems pretty safe to assume that this is an artist who knows what he is doing.
His latest offering typifies that sense of languid mastery – it’s generally less boisterous than his debut Royal Horticultural Society, but by reining in his approach Douglas has managed to refine his own individual voice. Stylistically it lands somewhere between the downbeat disco of Nicholas Jaar, the mutant folksiness of Throwing Snow and the pastoral haze of Gold Panda, and whilst he’s occasionally guilty of wearing these influences on his sleeve, Douglas does it so well that the similarities serve to compliment the tracks rather than diminish them. Its early days yet, but given the popularity of all of the above it seems pretty safe to assume that Moon Observations will be just as capable of appealing to a broader audience as it is to draw plaudits from heads.
This said it isn’t without its weaker moments, notably with the incorporation of vocalists Petter Carlsen and Blaudzun on Sweet Moonflower and White Heat Blood respectively – they’re still great tracks, but considering the robustness of the production the vocals sound a little flimsy by comparison. For the most part though it’s a collection of sophisticated tunes for intelligent dancefloors, making similar moves to crowd favourites Caribou and Jamie XX without quite falling into their more pop wise territory. Good tunes abound but I’m giving extra points to Selene for its excellent wooden flute hook, also keep an eye out for the wobbly organ funk of Romanticism, the Gallic electroshock of Je Ne Sais Pas and the suitably epic title track Moon Observations, whose anthemic crescendo is a fitting way to end the album and really puts the icing on what was already a damn good cake.
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