Much like designers, musicians are continually swinging through history, cherry-picking the best bits from long-forgotten eras and reinterpreting them with a modern slant. Recently, we’ve trudged through nostalgic New Order clones and the post-post-punk boom with bands like Interpol and Editors, but now it would seem that the much maligned genre of disco is coming back. So break out the bellbottoms because disco is about to be cool again.
FAN DEATHFan Death
are the princesses of new-disco strut. Their stunning debut single, Veronica’s Veil, sounds like it was recorded in the early hours of the morning after the Canadian duo stumbled out of an all-nighter at Studio 54, their breath gone from dancing and their heads ablaze with dreams of disco stardom. From the ever-so-perfect string sweeps, the throbbing bassline, the shimmering production courtesy of Erol Alkan (Mystery Jets, Late Of The Pier), and the hollow-eyed vocal, it is truly thrilling stuff that manages to breathe life back into disco.
SISTERS OF TRANSISTORS
Not content with leading the genre’s renaissance, UK revivalists Sisters Of Transistors
seem to have carved their sub-genre in the resurgence of disco, with what we’re calling mystery-disco. Not only does the group have a fondness for capes and shooting their videos in 3D, but there’s also a hint of unseen orchestration behind this twisted organ quartet. Pulling the strings is Graham Massey of 808 State fame, and the only person on this list who’s old enough to remember the heights of disco. Massey and the ‘Sisters create some brilliantly dark yet oddly danceable disco, with undeniable grooves working under the looping, hypnotic organ swirls. It’s mesmerizing and dramatic, and exactly what disco should be.
Fan Death traverses a more traditional, platform-boots and mirror-balls era of disco, but UK-by-way-of-Argentina two-piece, Heartbreak
, reaches back to somewhere between Giorgio Morodor’s arrival on the scene and the eventual death of disco when the synths-‘n-eyeliner crowd of the 1980s broke out. Heartbreak is more Human League and early Depeche Mode than Chic. They’re all about waves of bubbling keyboards and the bombastic production gloss of an ABC record. But beneath this there is a clear debt to disco, from their would-be Moroder arpeggio fetish, to the group’s penchant for Bee Gees-like falsettos. It’s scarily good music. — Dave Ruby Howe