French scenesters Pilooski and Pentile, now trading as Discodeine, have a collective reputation for musical eclecticism that goes beyond the norm. Between them, they’ve recorded, re-edited and remixed everything from stomping disco to psychedelic rock via bizarre synth instrumentals and off-kilter 80s rock.
“Synchronize”, their recent DFA released single with Paris-based former Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker, was a thing of rare beauty – a kind of contemporary indie-disco anthem built upon a love of classic house and razor-sharp strings. It marked the duo out as producers with a retro-futurist style and a keen ear for pop hooks. This eponymous debut album, then, could be described as eagerly anticipated, if only for the curiosity its announcement has provoked. The good news is that it’s a good set, featuring a number of musical curveballs and a distinct style of its own.
In truth, there’s little quite as instantly upbeat as “Synchronize” (included in digital formats in both full-length and edited form), but there’s plenty to get excited about. The first half of the album is noticeably downtempo – a pleasing mixture of leftfield instrumentals (the steel drums and marimbas of “Falkenberg” standing out) and whispered dark-pop workouts (the Baxter Dury collab “D-A”). As the album unfolds, Discodeine begin to show their dancefloor credentials more, giving their own twist on warehouse piano anthems with “Grace), E’d-up midtempo nu disco on “Invert” and analogue house – the previously released “Ring Mutilation”, which is reminiscent of Kelly Polar at their finest.
As the album rumbles towards a conclusion, there’s time for one more dose of glorious experimentation – an epic ambient weird-out entitled “Figures In A Soundscape”. It’s a fitting end to a surprising and adventurous debut.