Happy House (MP3)

    Not having been an preteen participant in the house-music scene of the early ’90s myself, I can’t comprehensively attest to the degree that the new single by DFA Records’ the Juan Maclean explicitly borrows from that specific time and genre. I suspect it’s pretty spot on. I do know that the piano chord that repeats throughout is lovingly boosted from scene stalwarts Dubtribe Sound System, albeit from a song they released in 2001 ("Do It Now"). I can also attest with some certainty that the central groove is looser and more carefree than the minimal synth patterns that have previously characterized the Juan Maclean’s work. 


    The connecting line throughout the epic track is a guileless vocal performance from LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang (who shares a writing credit). Far from her occasional deadpan turns as a James Murphy mouthpiece, Whang is positively giddy as she repeatedly thanks a lover for being "so damn excellent." She’s not exactly providing a vituoso melodic counterpoint but her simple good vibes humanize potentially tiresome loops. She’s so sweet and earnest that denying her request during to "launch me into space" during a swirling lull would just be irredeemably cruel. So out goes the retro time warp and in comes a tighter, more modern DFA sound. In the context of a thirteen-minute run time, even spanning a stylistic decade doesn’t feel unduly rushed.