Hanging Gardens

Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jul 22, 2014

Let the hunt for the summer jams begin! From the first bubbly synth line, it's obvious that Classixx is all about fun. Which is a good thing as some dance music can take itself way to seriously and lose the whole point. Hanging Gardens is chock full of head-nodding, car-dancing, sun-bathing cuts that plays as the perfect summer soundtrack. Breezy, atmospheric and just the right bit of glitch are the perfect cocktail for a lazy day by the pool or just-loud enough for a dance party (usually right before or after things get out of control).

While there is a definite ambient feel to the album, it hardly gets lost in vague volume swells or messy keyboard washes. The crisp production of the percussion (which ranges from shakers, to tambourines, to the ubiquitous "trance" bass drum pounding every beat) goes a long way toward creating an atmosphere that is both present yet not unobtrusive, engaging but not nagging.

While there are a few tracks that feature full vocal performances (as opposed to simple vocal samples a la "Holding On"), I don't consider those tracks to stand out from the rest of the album. Sarah Chernoff's vocals on  "A Stranger Love" are fine enough, even if the wispy, nebulous nature of them sounds less like a human than a really breathy robot-lady. Unfortunately, Nancy Whang's vocal performance sound more like a bored robot, if such a thing could exist. I've found that bumping the track all together provides a more cohesive experience (even if the chorus to the tune is quite catchy). The album closes with the pensive "Borderline". And while the title does evoke Madonna's hit from the era Classixx tend to pillage at will, the low-key final track shares little with the Material Girl's hit. And that ain't such a bad thing.

Key tracks: Hanging Gardens, Holding On, Borderline

Listen alikes: Royksopp, Daft Punk, Purity Ring

Reviewed by Scott S.
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