Take the leather goods that the Bee Gees wore, Toto’s hairstyles, and the disco rhinestone and glitter of the early 80s and give them to Poolside. They will take care of using these ingredients to make a cold soup that might remind one vaguely of Hot Chip or Metronomy, but watch out, because it will have something special added to it: sparks of trippy acid and moments of summer funk in the purest Oriol style, but with a full-on cannabis-by-the-pool thing going on. I hadn’t heard anything so utterly cool in months. So refreshing. I don’t think that there’s any album as suitable as this one for this period of splashing, sand and used condoms. The summer of 2012 has its new heralds.
From sunny Los Angeles, Filip Nikolic and Jeffrey Paradise have released a treatise of summer rhythms that practically ooze after-sun. It’s got that feeling of freedom and the relaxation of holidays, distilled into electronic sounds that caress the cartilage of your inner ear like the playful tongue of a 23-year-old model. It can’t help but conjure up images of a hotel pool, enormous glasses of piña colada and trays of fruit cut into triangles. But it would be too simplistic to catalogue the relaxed, heady sound of Poolside as “throwaway”. Although their funk insolence, tacky falsettos and arrangements bordering on calypso speak to us of “here and now”, the duo’s formula lasts and holds up in the iPod thanks to the mastery with which Nikloic and Paradise update and reinvent this game their own way: based on originality, with deep trance, drowsy bpms and brilliant pinches of acid.
The label they use is daytime disco, and the name does justice to the sound. Their world is based on decadence, laziness, attractiveness for its own sake, sun, chlorine, and swimsuits. “Give It A Rest”, the poppiest piece, is like putting early Toto, Jake Slazenger and Oriol in a blender: you get freaky, irresistible grooves. “Take Me There”, with Caribbean xylophones, disco-soul echoes and obsessive funky guitars, is a fucking masterpiece of cool idleness. The addictive 21st-century Acapulco sound that they plot out in the hypnagogic “Between Dreams” is a cinnamon stick. “Just Fall In Love” could be understood as a cross between Prince, Hot Chip and the Beach Boys at a funk convention. “California Sunset” is a psychedelic merengue that only has a reason for being under the blazing sun of a small-town municipal swimming pool. But the best thing… ah, the very best thing of all, is the epidermal remix of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”. It’s a challenge – manipulating that composition is a sacrilege for many people – that comes off brilliantly, and which deserves to be among the best songs of 2012: unhurried funk, codeine mixed with Sprite and girls in bikinis wearing passion-red lipstick and black Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. I adore this album.