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  • Filed under: Review
  • 07/25/2011

Peach Melba Can't Let Go

There's something about John "Juan" MacLean that suggests he's a man that feels he has a lot to prove. From 2010's one-take all-vinyl DJ-Kicks to 2008's piano-house smash "Happy House," his output (not to mention his interviews) over the past three years has been focused almost exclusively on building an impenetrable aura of authenticity. It's not hard to guess why either: MacLean came to DJ culture late in life after maintaining a decidedly anti-DJ stance. With his new Peach Melba project (in collaboration with vocalist Amy Douglas), MacLean has created yet another channel for beefing up his dance music authority.

MacLean's desire to demonstrate the breadth of his knowledge is evidenced by Peach Melba's first single, "Can't Let Go," which features three rather disparate takes on the same song: a deep, Chez Damier-style '90s Detroit house cut, weirdo tech-house, and a kind of dub-techno cut that could be easily mistaken for a Moritz Von Oswald M-Series track. For a single that covers such broad ground, you'd imagine that it would lose a sense of cohesiveness—but you'd be wrong. MacLean's new-found ability to program (at times) ludicrously swung-out drum patterns and Douglas' Lola Blank-meets-Paris Grey vocals glue the entire project together.

Unsurprisingly, Peach Melba is at its best when working from the blueprints of the past. The straightforward "Can't Let Go" and the hazy "Can't Let Go (Dub of Dub)" both bring to mind a nostalgia for the creativity, vibe, and diversity of the '90s dance music scene. "Can't Let Go (Dub)," however, takes a monotonous tech-house tack that doesn't fare as well. That being said, it's not a big stumbling block—as a whole, the single is a worthy addition to MacLean's catalog, and will undoubtedly become a building block of DJ sets for years to come.

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