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Lace Curtain - Lace Curtain / Falling/Running

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Artist: Lace Curtain

Album: Lace Curtain / Falling/Running

Label: DFA / Mexican Summer

Review date: Aug. 30, 2013

So the scuttlebutt around Lace Curtain goes in two directions. First, their membership: it’s roughly half of the touring lineup of post-punk band du jour Total Control – drummer James Vinciguerra, singer David West (also of Rat Columns and Rank/Xerox), and Mikey Young, former guitarist of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and the MVP of the modern Australian punk/DIY community, a guy who either records, mixes or masters nearly every record from the continent. Second, no one in Lace Curtain is meant to be an aficionado of current dance music, yet they managed to land themselves on one of America’s most visible electronic imprints. Pot up your cynicism a bit, and it’s easy to mistake this band as a doorprize for independent labels eager to sign Total Control.

It’s entirely within the realm of possibility that people can be more interested in making electronic records than celebrating the culture unto which they are issued. And at least on one of these two four-song releases, Lace Curtain orchestrates an urbane, sumptuous array of synthesizers, bass, guitar, acoustic and electronic percussion into shifting ideas laid against a background of a life lusher than they might know, in ways that work without much of a net beyond pumping bass and a smattering of signature moves here and there. That would be the DFA release, which is uniformly outstanding, and doesn’t really take the cues you’d expect from Total Control’s digital output – look back, a bunch of those 7”s which preceded Henge Beat are straight-up synthpunk – so much as it sounds like some brilliant reconstruction of Severed Heads’ melodic experimentalism through the subdued, afterparty funk of early Hot Chip. West’s voice all but melts into the low end of “Nothing I Wanna Do” as part after part of the song steps into the fray, like models down the catwalk – forward, turn, pose, retreat. Across the board, there doesn’t seem to be much holding any of these four songs together, so much as interesting sounds (that bouncing basketball kick drum on “Gimme Space” for instance, or the unsteady rubber fob of low-register melody in the jerked, uncomfortable “Good Intentions”), and atmosphere to spare keep them in your memory bank. Usually music like this can’t coast on these qualities, but the tracks on this EP prove otherwise, a rarity in an era of single-minded performances and bands fearing what might happen if they don’t brand their music with an identifiable sound straight away.

On the Mexican Summer EP, two songs are presented in two separate versions on either side, and since neither is classified as a remix, you’ll be hard pressed not to focus on the differences between the two instead of the songs themselves. “Falling” is as free-wheeling as anything off the DFA EP, but for some reason it doesn’t work. “Running” has a great, minimal melody, one that I keep hearing in different arrangements other than the New Order “True Faith” clone it resembles here, and enough period touches to keep it trapped in that ’87-’88 window, somewhere near Level 42 or whoever else was doing such things back then. But positioned against the aimlessness of “Falling” and even a diffuse version of itself on the flip, it sticks out the wrong way; the one song across these releases that sounds intentional. It’ll be interesting to see where Lace Curtain goes with all this, though I sense more “Running” and less “Falling” in the future.

By Doug Mosurock

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