Lindstrøm – It's Alright Between Us As It Is
Lindstrøm's It's Alright Between Us As It Is is mostly too safe, but it does the job
Nu-Disco has never been a boundary pusher, and that’s never been the point. Intergalactic builds, gooey nostalgia, fun, cheesy dance songs to, y’know, dance to. That’s the point. Those that stand out in the style – Daft Punk, Todd Terje, and, of course, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm – do so because they stuck to this formula while carving out an identity of their own.
Lindstrøm does so with ambitious track lengths, muscular production and an ability to quietly morph his beats into new shapes, still retaining the giddy thrills that got him here in the first place. He’s deviated with some clever (sometimes obtuse) experiments, like his second full length, Six Cups of Rebel, but since 2012’s Smallhans, the producer has been keen to keep his tracks unfussy and fun.
To understand where It’s Alright Between Us As It Is comes from, you have to look to last year’s Windings, a sturdy, elegant EP that offered thumping grooves and thumping grooves alone. This full-length album acts as variations of that EP’s opening track, Closing Shot, an instant-classic in blissful, linear dance music.
Mostly, it’s too safe. The near-seven-minute Tensions is a pale imitation of Closing Shot, following an eerily similar slinky build that lacks the bite or freshness of that original. Spire is a spiritual twin of Terje’s Delorean Dynamite, with less drive or personality. As the record settles into itself beyond these early tracks, it begins to feel distinct. Jenny Hval’s ragged vocal presence on Bungl (Like a Ghost) is particularly fluid and exciting, and Lindstrøm’s steadfast, rigid beatwork compliments her well.
Where the album most attempts to feel unique is in its continuous mix structure. Tracks blend into each other effortlessly; Lindstrøm clearly wants the record to feel like a single piece, and he’s skilled enough to make it sound agile and purposeful. You’ve heard the individual parts before though, with more range, colour, and taste. It’s Alright Between Us… will do its job, but on the cheap.
Listen to: Bungl (Like a Ghost), Drift