The Presets’ second full-length, Apocalypso, begins immediately with the duo’s now-trademark energy and attitude, adding a bit more dark, moody atmosphere and feverish intensity for kick. And although it’s no secret they share certain indie-dance sensibilities with fellow Aussies Cut Copy and Midnight Juggernauts, Kim Moyes and Julian Hamilton distinguish themselves from their counterparts by flaunting more of a biting edge and a campy aesthetic.
More techno-inspired than its predecessor, 2005’s Beams, Apocalypso plays like a thrill ride with an almost sexually aggressive urgency. Vocally, Hamilton’s a bit of a chameleon on this one — sing-songy on “Yippyo-ay” and “Eucalyptus,” yelping on “My People” and “Kicking and Screaming,” and, best of all, strong and velvety on “This Boy’s in Love” and “If I Know You” (on which he almost seems to channel Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant).
“Kicking and Screaming,” as the name might imply, starts things off with a staccato-like burst of electricity. “My People,” the album’s first single, is a chant-along dancefloor stomper. Stellar second single “This Boy’s in Love” is a lush, electro-pop opus that may or may not have homoerotic undertones (see YouTube for the accompanying video of two young, shirtless studs wrestling in milk). The by-now-obligatory instrumental, “Aeons,” is thrown in for good measure, a new age-y showcase for the Presets’ classical backgrounds.
Apocalypso finishes strong with the pulsing heartbeat of “Anywhere,” a six-minute-plus electro-epic that will most definitely be remixed at some point in the near future. With its build-up, break-down, and, finally, come-down, it’s a satisfying way to end things.