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  • Filed under: Review
  • 10/04/2013

Benoit & Sergio Adjustments EP

Benoit & Sergio, the DC house duo of Benoit Simon and Benjamin Meyers, has proven itself particularly suited for its line of work. In short, Benoit & Sergio have a knack for churning out feel-good dance tracks that skirt the lines between house, techno, and pop, and the formula has garnered the act entries in the discographies of a respectable list of labels, including DFA, Hot Creations, Visionquest, Spectral Sound, and now, with the Adjustments EP, Droog's Culprit imprint.

"Shake Shake" opens the record. There's nothing moody or angular here, just the inflatable spring of a sunny house beat and the spiraling chant of "shake." Leave it to these guys to sample an R&B diva like Mariah Carey and build a track around it that ultimately owes just as much to Nu Shooz or Tom Tom Club. Typically, sampling isn't a trick so prominently deployed by Simon and Meyers, but here, it does the trick. "Shake Shake" eventually evolves from the lilting sway of the source material, gaining an assertive house thump only after the entry of an '80s-infused synth bassline and spotless piano chords. The occasional interlude of heavily dubbed vocoder vocals and a second, less-identifiable sample tie up the mix, putting it somewhere between cheerful new wave and Jersey garage. The track may not have the lasting impact of Simon's and Meyers' more story-driven songwriting, but that doesn't diminish its potential in a DJ set.

The EP's title track is a more familiar Benoit & Sergio effort, at least on the surface. Lacing the intertwined pulse of a number of gossamer synth lines with the brush and tap of a bobbing drumbeat, "Adjustments" begins with the sort of elongated intro Simon and Meyers have used so many times before. Meyers' breathy falsetto follows, taking up the duo's preferred subject matter about club culture—"Sometimes I think the DJs don't understand/We've been waiting around all week for this"—and love—"We just want to dance/And then walk home with the girl that we've met"—but instead of gaining a booming house heartbeat, "Adjustments" adds a few rich atmospheric flourishes and little else. Benoit & Sergio's carefree take-drugs-and-dance attitude may not sit well with those who prefer a more intellectual bent to their electronic music, but it's tough to deny the duo's melodic sensibility and ability to navigate various sounds without losing its identity in the process.

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