Review ·

Myles "Mylo" MacInnes's Destroy Rock & Roll is another take on the mix album. An apparent student of the Daft Punk school of record-making, Mylo offers short takes of dance-floor-friendly cuts. He moves quickly yet patiently from gentle Air aerobics to cheeky explorations of Metro Area. While establishing a reputation with the ruckus-raising "Destroy Rock & Roll" and his over-the-house remix work for Elton John and Kylie Minogue, the young Scottish producer/musician casts his net farther in an apparent attempt to push his own sonic boundaries.


Fortunately, the tactic works. Like an expert deejay, Mylo moves the music in gradations: from the echoed, layered drums of "Sunworshipper" to the distinct and crisp snares of "Muscle Cars" and eventually to the album's first peak, "Drop the Pressure," a frenzy of clipped vocals and charging drums. Each track's pace and force builds the album's texture, but they are also arranged in a logical and neat fashion to maintain a level density. Such an approach makes cuts such as "In My Arms" immensely predictable (eight-bar intro, four bars and four bars of variation, eight-bar chorus, eight-bar bridge), but strong hooks propel the latter half of the album. "Rikki" dances to a C-walking bass line and a glitchy melody, begging to hit a bridge and tunnel near you, and the weepy "Need You Tonite" wafts to the tune of Judie Tzuke's "Stay With Me Until Dawn." Mylo's approach is lucid and clear, a condensation of pop formula without any condescension.


While intuition, planning and execution alone earn Destroy Rock & Roll high marks, sentimentality makes or breaks the record. Much has been made of Mylo's fascination with MOR radio - titles such as "Guilty of Love," "Need You Tonite" and "Soft Rock" scream of such mediocre romance - but, to his credit, he has been unabashed about it. "I think I was into soft rock anyway, irrespective of the fact that that was all you could get on Atlantic 252," he said in an interview with Sound on Sound. "I was into things like Poison and Bon Jovi, which I thought was fashionable at the time! I remember being shocked when Bon Jovi came back in the early '90s and they'd cut their hair off and stuff. I thought it was a real shame."


On a superficial level, Mylo explicitly nods to MOR - for example, through his sampling of Kim Carnes's "Bette Davis Eyes" (which, coincidentally, has had a revival through its appearance in the North Country soundtrack) in "In My Arms." However, he also consistently captures the enthusiasm of 1980s and 1990s music's embrace of technology by recreating hairsprayed synths and pressed drum machines with contemporary tools - consider the keyboard arpeggios of "Sunworshipper," which pair Steely Dan at a dance with the 24-Hour Party People. In this manner, he recalls the intent behind the music.


For all the bravado of its title, Destroy Rock & Roll is in fact a neat, listenable trip. Although Mylo is skilled enough to chock out pop for the smart, he keeps it accessible and dwells within common memories. Stateside listeners receive this point with crystal clarity: the U.S. reissue of this 2005 album includes three bonus tracks, one of which is the club-smash "Doctor Pressure," which mashes Miami Sound Machine's "Dr. Beat" with Mylo's "Drop the Pressure." Hate it or love it? Depends completely on how you feel about "Dr. Beat" in the first place. Such is Mylo in a nutshell: Do you want to take this trip?




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