Joakim JoakimNothing Gold
“Milky Ways” was a flood of talent we're still trying to dry off from. I'm convinced that, two years later, it's still on loads of iPods. The unpredictability and malleability of his mix of lacquered synth-pop, disco and perfumed electronica took us by surprise. Rumour has it there were funny noises coming from Ian Curtis' grave when the record came out. Jokes aside, the fact was that the Tigersushi boss gained all the respect and admiration he didn't get when he released the irregular “Monsters And Silly Songs”. And the bar? It was raised ridiculously high; but this guy rose to the challenge. “Nothing Gold” doesn't only equal his previous effort, sometimes he even improves it: maturity and electronica; nostalgia and future; shoulder pads and weightless skateboards.
The carbon 14 test doesn't lie: the ruins on which the musical machineries of “Nothing Gold” are built are from the darkest episode of the eighties. They are the basis of a melodic brew made of all kinds of ingredients: IDM protons, synth madness neutrons, disco electrons and techno quarks. But the main element is affected electro-pop, the lacquered romanticism of Talking Heads, the touch of vintage theatrical affectation that defined the kings of quiff of over 25 years ago. Joakim Bouaziz moves like a fish in those waters: his voice undulates hypnotically and he embellishes his electronic scores with melodic inflection, most likely overacted but very efficient in a sound halfway between Depeche Mode and M83. Is it a pop album? Yes. Eighties-like and dark, but with the electronic edge necessary in 2011.
The good thing is that, in spite of it using resources from the romantic dark-light play of electro-pop from 1984, Bouaziz's music possesses a certain vitality and ingenuity; those contradiction are what this effort feeds off. Exciting like Jürgen Paape's reverberations and the delicate vocal melody of “Forever Young”. Like the epic pop and iron and steel sediment of “Find A Way”, one of the most dancefloor-orientated tracks on the album. Like the disco whiffs and synth acrobatics of “Perfect Kiss”. Like the mix of nostalgia, industrial sounds and acid of “Paranoid”. Like the humour and cabaret pianos of “Wrong Blood”. This just in: there are funny noises coming from Ian Curtis' coffin again. If you're over thirty, you were born to hear this album.