Pretty Funky Synths
Pretty Good Dance Moves is an apt and charming title, isn’t it? The New York-based duo, striving to get bodies moving for almost five years now, got a fair amount of attention and praise back in their hometown of Chicago with their PGDM EP. Their first LP Limo is an exciting new product that features Brazilian Girls’ Sabina Sciubba.
See, Jimmy Giannopoulos and Aaron Allietta don’t sing very much. They mostly craft vibes and atmospheres, encouraging vocal collaborators to breathe life into them. It works on Limo, with eight title-free movements meant to be listened to straight through. It’s not one huge dance party; it’s more like dance parties broken up by meditative chill trances.
Sciubba’s singing in three languages, combined with the otherwise wordless aspect of much of this record, lends a feeling of internationalism to the grooves, energy, and rhythm. Synths and drum machines are central to the band’s sound, but other varying factors are at work throughout: oddball percussion (bells, triangles, empty glasses, xylophones, etc.), bouncy organs, brass, woodwinds, bass, and feedback-tweaked electric guitar all make appearances to various degrees of heaviness and effect.
At just over 30 minutes across eight cuts, it’s easy to listen to Limo as one track—the songs bleed together and the distinctness of each is not necessarily important. There aren’t many moments that would elicit “Oh, I love this part,” or “This is my favorite song on the album.” The more appropriate and natural response would be “This beat is the catchiest on this record,” or “This is her strongest vocal.” It’s not even really a record that would function for a high-energy dance party. If this were to really work in a club, it would probably have to get remixed. And these songs could make for some totally killer remixes.
There’s nothing revolutionary in what Pretty Good Dance Moves do here. Limo is solid, a great introduction for PGDM into NPR culture, where older folks will latch onto its listenable funk and worldly catchiness. Brazilian Girls fans will be pleased, as will fans of Death Cab for Cutie, Zero 7, even the sedate moments of LCD Soundsystem. This debut doesn’t really have mass appeal or enough edginess for the youth to get pumped about it, but it’s a pleasant piece of polite dance music.