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  • Filed under: Review
  • 04/25/2012

Beaumont Never Love Me EP

After dropping his widely tipped debut, the Blush Response EP, last year, Glaswegian producer Beaumont pushes forward with his sophomore effort, the Never Love Me EP. Marking his first outing for Hotflush, Beamount lends Paul Rose's label four tunes (five if you get the digital release), all of which are steeped in more club and bass music influences than his previous effort, but still carefully dart along the neon-lit path between modern beats and glowing '80s synth-pop.

Beaumont's new EP rides this treacherous line at the foot of contemporary UK club music more boldly than its predecessor, inserting a larger portion of kitsch between the stepping rhythms. However, on the opening title track, this new approach immediately falls flat on its face, as the tune punches out a heavily swung drum pattern (though the tones are considerably light) and pits it against an overwhelming array of thin synth sequences—their revolving loops never quite fitting together before they are topped off by unnecessary layers of vocoder.

Fortunately, after this brief falter, Beaumont seems to jump right into step, revealing three songs that strike a cautious balance between gorgeous melodies, retro-futuristic drum programming, and glistening synth tones that stay just outside of the "guilty pleasure" zone. Never Love Me's keyboard sounds land somewhere between those of Dam-Funk and Starkey, but the drums and percussion come with little to no traces of hip-hop or outright dubstep, having far more in common with the current wave of post-everything rhythms. The overall aesthetic vision seems to benefit from a truncated song length, as the EP's two strongest cuts, "Uptown" and "Verona Beach," are also its shortest, with a combined length just over five minutes. Although both tunes take decidedly different paths, it's the common elements—the slew of arpeggios, the focused melodies, the floating chord progressions—that raise these songs above the remaining tracklist.

The producer has found a way to widen his scope on his new record, while still remaining dedicated to the style that first got him attention, which is no easy feat. Deftly skirting the pitfalls of other '80s-indebted artists, Beaumont avoids overcompressed drums and keeps his sound sources fresh throughout Never Love Me. Still, one can't help but wonder how long it will be until the producer runs out of inspiration if he continues to operate in a musical world that's not only rather specifically defined, but has also been rehashed countless times.

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