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.
Electronic-music duos are a global phenomenon. There seems to be thousands of them in France, plenty in the U.S., and you can even find some in Australia. Case in point: Down Under dance-rock outfit the Presets. The band consists of Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes, who met while both were students at Sydney's Conservatorium of Music. They also play in the more experimental-leaning band Prop. Apocalypso is the duo's sophomore full-length, after 2006 debut Beams.
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