Session Victim Two Man House Band EP - XLR8R

Session Victim Two Man House Band EP

Three slices of funk-infused fun.
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Session Victim is in a good spot. The duo's recent LP, See You When You Get There—released earlier in 2015 on Delusions of Grandeur—has been a slow-burn hit, with its "Stick Together" finding its way into the dead center of Seth Troxler’s wildly anticipated installment of the DJ-Kicks series. Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling's classic house-, disco-, and funk-infused sound has a timeless feel that seems to translate to even casual listeners, and they pride themselves on their authentic live shows. They are, for all intents and purposes, that increasingly rare format in dance music: a "band." The pair's latest EP, amusingly titled Two Man House Band, arrives strictly on vinyl only on Retreat. So vibrant and rhythmic is Session Victim’s music, it would be difficult to listen to the vast majority, if not all, of it, and not get the urge to dance—and this three-tracker brings their sound even more fully to the dance floor.

First up, "Summer Games" offers up MCDE-esque drums underneath a decidedly melancholy and somewhat Balaeric string and guitar arrangement, one that sounds deeply satisfying on a grey September morning—never mind at say, sundown at Dekmantel. The track elicits the sort of mass moment it was likely designed to reflect; nonetheless, the live elements present in Session Victim’s sound tend to avoid bludgeoning the listener with contrived emotion. Next, "Black Cream" offers a smooth warm-up, coming to life slowly and demonstrating the pair’s ability to weave complex ideas into accessible rhythms. With shades of broken beat and jazz licks, this sort of record could, in less experienced hands—but Session Victim pull it off.

Finally, "Findelhorn" finishes off the EP in a style more reminiscent of member Matthias Reiling’s recent, excellent work on Giegling. It’s notably less immediate and a comparatively downtempo sign-off—but it still maintains their loose, starry sound, before finishing off with a psychedelic flute solo that toes the line between absorbing and slightly silly. If there are any detractors of a team as innately likeable as Session Victim, Two Man House Band is unlikely to win them over—but when you’re this smart at delivering good times, only a fool wouldn’t want to keep them coming.