The Juan MacLean’s In A Dream starts like a dance party that you wish you were invited to. The one with the light-up dance floor, bell bottoms and sequence fringes. It’s The Juan MacLean’s sixth studio album on his buddy James Murphy’s DFA Records, and it isn’t much surprise the two are friends. The Juan MacLean isn’t afraid of what happens when he mixes his rock and roll expertise with his dance music. The product is a collection of tunes with plenty of funk and just enough edge to make it stand out.
The opening track, “A Place Called Space,” will take you there. Galactic guitar riffs bouncing off bass line meteors run for eight minutes straight. When you land, you find yourself in this funky dancing cosmos. You are in no rush to return to Earth.
“Love Stops Here” is DFA Records through and through. Lyrics take themselves just seriously enough, like “Never feels like the end, / Waiting for a second chance, / Another sad circumstance,” which Juan MacLean sings softly with the smallest hint of sarcasm. The backing instrumentals could be from LCD Soundsystem. And it even ends with the rhythmic chanting of backup singers.
The album isn’t just punk rock disco balls. There are times when these dreams aren’t good ones. The vocals on “Charlotte” are dreary and miserable, almost to the point where you want to start wearing black and smoking cigarettes just to stop conforming. This is all despite the running high-hat and fun tom play. Luckily “A Simple Design” snaps you out of that goth funk and gets your feet back to moving.
In A Dream ends with “The Sun Will Never Set On Our Love” and takes its time. It’s almost three minutes before the organs and funky tones come in and get your head bobbing (even those hipsters’ heads, the ones who will insist his older stuff was better).
The Juan Maclean gives us an insight into his dreams, and they are weirdly like reality. It’s a ton of fun, but will remind you of those dark places where you can sometimes reside. Like life, though, you move on and dance your way through it.