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  • Filed under: Review
  • 11/07/2011

Juan Maclean Everybody Get Close

It’s hard to believe that it has almost been a decade since John "Juan" Maclean released "By The Time I Get To Venus." That record marked the one-time punk guitarist’s arrival to dance music, and Maclean’s come a long way since then—now boasting two albums, multiple singles, and a full touring band. It’s safe to say he has been fairly prolific over the years, yet despite his wide output, there’s never been a release that’s compiled the odds and ends of his discography. With the arrival of Everybody Get Close, the producer attempts to do just that and a little more. Comprised of unheard remixes and material from the rare, tour-only Find a Way EP, Everybody Get Close is a scattered compilation that makes up for its lack of cohesion with moments of dancefloor satisfaction.

The record starts off strong with the jubilant piano bounce of "Find a Way." One of the record’s highlights, the song finds Maclean blending his new wave vocals—in addition to those of collaborator Nancy Whang’s—with harshly delayed pianos to create a manic dance cut in the vein of possibly the duo's best tracks to date, "Happy House." Another highlight comes in the form of "Let’s Talk About Me," which blends aspects of Maclean’s Peach Melba project with a punchy four-on-the-floor rhythm and hypnotically arpeggiated synthesizer. Other big moments include the Basic Channel-esque "Deviant Device," the downtempo disco of "When I’m With You," and the vocoded title track, "Everybody Get Close," a dead ringer for Maclean’s output during early-'00s electroclash.

But while the album does have its strong points, there are a few cuts that just don’t work. "X2" is an attempt at minimal acid house that lacks both direction and rhythmic novelty. Similarly, "The Robot" provides an unnecessary, aimless interlude that rides a monophonic line between Throbbing Gristle and Tangerine Dream. "Feels So Good" (taken from Maclean's recent DJ-Kicks mix) fares a little better with a sonic aesthetic that melds hi-nrg and piano house, but ultimately lacks the direction and variation to justify its 10-plus minute runtime.

Everybody Get Close also features three new remixes of previously released Maclean material. Holmes Price’s version of The Future Will Come album cut "Human Disaster" takes the original’s new-wave vibe and pushes it farther into the past à la Cerrone’s "Supernature" and early-'80s Italo disco. "Happy House (Cut Copy Remix)" achieves similarly excellent results by replacing the original's Dubtribe Sound System references with a prominent bassline-driven instrumental section and goofy (in a good way) backing vocals reminiscent of Black Leotard Front’s early DFA track "Casual Friday."

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