Montreal’s Tiga seems best known here for his DJ skills and stellar remixes, but Ciao! is actually his second studio album. For some reason the U.S. mostly slept on 2006’s Sexor, even in spite of its tracks like “You Gonna Want Me” and “Good as Gold” becoming classic dance tunes. Like his debut, Ciao! is worth noting: His second effort may just be the best dance full-length of the year.
Once again, Tiga teamed with Soulwax’s Steph and Dave Dewaele for much of the production duties, with additional collaboration with the likes of Jesper Dahlback, Jori Hulkkonen, Gonzales, and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy. And it shows: Ciao! is both dance-floor-ready (though there’s already an abundance of pretty sweet remixes of album tracks floating around out there) and listener-friendly. It’s a bit more playful and pop than its predecessor, but it retains Tiga’s signature finely tuned electrohouse sensibilities.
And, like Tiga himself, the album has personality to burn. Surprisingly devoid of covers (surely you’ve heard his versions of “Hot in Herre,” “Sunglasses at Night,” “Burning Down the House,” and “Louder than a Bomb,” among others), Ciao! encompasses electro bangers, divalicious disco, funky pop tunes, and ballads. And still center stage are Tiga’s vocals, present on every track to varying degrees (something that works best on songs like the sing-songy “Shoes,” not as great on ones like “Turn the Night On,” an homage to/doppelganger for Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” and probably my least favorite track here).
The current single, “Shoes,” is a sassy, glorious bit of quirky pop. (And no, despite rumors to the contrary, that’s actually not Madonna making a guest appearance. According to Tiga, it’s his voice with some special-effects trickery.) The record closes out with “Love Don’t Dance Here Anymore,” a deliciously extravagant 10-minute-plus disco masterpiece straight out of Studio 54. It gently grabs you by the arm and leads you out of the club as the lights go up.