THE PRESETS — Pacifica
PETE WALSH examines the latest panoply of sweaty beats delivered by pre-eminent Sydney duo.
While the buzz might be that Pacifica is new territory for the well-versed electro pair, I’m not thoroughly convinced. The band’s third full-length offering definitely feels new, but there’s an element of déjà vu that is inescapable. Don’t get me wrong, the album is certainly the EDM soup du jour that the hype has built it up to be — I just feel it’s more of a reimagining than anything truly avant-garde.
If Pacifica had a theme song, it would be Youth In Trouble. Stamped with the duo’s penchant for synthesising dynamic modern house beats and ‘80s electro pop, the first single is the album in microcosm. The Presets restate their predilection for transcending the norms of the contemporary EDM scene by dropping a soulfully incandescent It’s Cool, and a flighty, ethereal and altogether eerie closer in Fail Epic. Meanwhile, the cathedral-like sounds on Fast Seconds combine with an almost-Gregorian chant and sludgy, browbeating bass lines to feel like the soundtrack to some seedy drug experience in King’s Cross. However beyond a shadow of a doubt, the diamond of all diamonds is the contradictory Ghosts — incorporating military themes and Pet Shop Boys-reminiscent codas; how can anyone lose?
The Presets deliver one hell of a mature sounding album both aurally and content-wise, which is to be expected from such a prodigious two-piece. Unfortunately, they were pipped at the post on the ARIA charts by post-hardcore outfit The Amity Affliction — although I have it on excellent authority that Pacifica will soon reclaim its rightful place at number one.
PETE WALSH is an ex-Rave contributor and vagrant writer as well as a bit of a literati, music aficionado and coffee snob.