It’s been almost a decade since the dance-punk/electroclash movement maneuvered its way around the post-hardcore scene it paralleled. Artists like The Faint, Peaches, Death From Above 1979 and the like made it cool to wear red shades and neon everything again – at least in a postmodern ’80s sense. Of course, Moving Units captured that disco glamour chic in the only city that makes sense to do so: Los Angeles. Their new EP Tension War is a testament to the city’s obsession with detached irony versus what really happens when you stop dancing.
Tracks like “Liquid X” and “Until She Says” are far less chaotic than earlier releases like “X and Y” and “Emancipation,” getting rid of the sexual tremble in Blake Miller’s voice and replacing it with some textural resonance – much like the synths now filling in the spaces of what used to be post-punky jumpiness.
“Pink Redemption” is an obvious homage to Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” with the bass-line building up around the Roland blips, handclaps and falsetto singing. The breakdown two minutes into the song is worth the wait; imagine a hundred or so sweaty LA youths desperately trying to be New York club kids, jerking helplessly between strobes and hair. Yeah, that happens.
By now, you’re thinking, “does dance-punk have any relevance in a music scene that’s heavily saturated by dance music in general?” Sure, bands like Cansei de Ser Sexy and the newly-reformed Death From Above 1979 hope to revitalize the genre, but where will it fit amongst the dub this and the electro that? Hopefully, Tension War proves that none of that matters.