Stereogamous feat. Shaun J. Wright Face Love Anew
In hindsight, it's surprising that it's taken so long for Australian DJ duo Stereogamous to release a single of its own original material. Active since the early 2000s, it's been mostly known as a remix outfit, putting out sleazy "bath house" versions of tracks by artists like Kylie Minogue, George Michael, and LCD Soundsystem. One thing this seems to have taught the duo is a knack for arrangement and song structure, something that comes through very clearly on Face Love Anew, its '90s-piano-house-infused debut.
Right from the beginning, it's obvious that "Face Love Anew" isn't simply a retread of a well-worn style. The production is polished and modern in a way that's aesthetically reminiscent of Morgan Geist's Storm Queen project with its thumping bass, careening pianos, and verse-chorus structure. Like that outfit's work, this is vocally driven music for a dancefloor, and Shaun J. Wright delivers a standout performance that carries the tune's somewhat generic first four minutes to a novel conclusion. And it's the way the track finishes that really sets it apart—it comes back from a breakdown as an almost different song, with glassy, arpeggiating synthesizers that wouldn't be out of place on a Knife record. It's an unexpected peak that brings to mind the past without sounding anything like it.
That said, on its own, it might be too saccharine for some. Luckily, the EP comes with a large amount of remixes—seven on the digital release, two on vinyl. All of them stay entirely within the confines of house, but each provides a different utility: Honey Soundsystem resident Jason Kendig strips things down and cuts a spot-on ode to moody '80s Chicago; Berlin-based Discodromo turns in a filtered-out dub version; Kim Ann Foxman fixates on the bridge, teasing out a whole song; and Horse Meat Disco dials up the swing for a jazzy take on US garage. Questionable is the Miracles Club version, which also tries its hand at the New York sound but misses because of its overplayed piano stabs and general messiness. The best of the remixes comes from The Carry Nation, who throws in flashes of energy and Todd Edwards-style vocal cut-ups for an aggressively ravey peak-time banger. All told, even though it's not for everybody, there's still a lot to like on Face Love Anew.
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