Album Review: The Future Will Come - The Juan Maclean

With the exception of LCD Soundsystem's Sound of Silver BlackPlastic's favourite DFA album ever is the Juan Maclean's glorious Less Than Human. An ode to the robot it is a glorious body of work that culminates in one of BlackPlastic's favourite ever songs - the delicate electronic anthem, 'Dance With Me'.

The Future Will Come, however, is a different beast. Jettisoning some of the introspection of the previous album this takes a lot of cues from various types of 80s popular music. The Juan Maclean is the alter ego of John Maclean and, with his partner in crime Nancy Whang (who is also part of LCD Soundsystem), he has clearly taken a lot of inspiration from the Human League's Dare! for this album.  Not only are nearly all the tracks on this album vocal duets but John even sounds just like Phil Oakey at several points. John has stated that until working on the vocals for this album with Nancy he didn't like anything in the Human League's catalogue after their transformation once the girls joined, preferring the early 'Being Boiled' era, but that he really began to appreciate it once work on The Future Will Come began and this new found fondness really shows.

So the sound is generally very different from the first album but it isn't a inspirationless re-tread of another act's material either - the vocals are much more prominent but there is still a lot of experimentation going on with the music. Only 'New Bot' really recalls any of the clinical nature of Less Than Human. It's a somewhat appropriate likeness given the title of the song but even this fades away as the chorus kicks in and John and Nancy's League-esque vocal sparring begins.

The Future Will Come is not Less Than Human continued... then. Instead it is an evolution, a fantastic combination of many separate sounds and influences. From the opening 'The Simple Life' the League are there throughout much of this album but there is so much more. Next single 'One Day' mixes snappy vocals with lush Detroit techno - synthetic strings that recall 'Strings of Life' ride melody that sounds like it fell out of New Order's song book when they weren't looking. The result is rather special.

The album's two other highlights can be found in the form of last year's 'Happy House' and the epic midpoint provided by 'Tonight'.  If you haven't already heard it the former is an epic revisitation of pre-nineties house music which only gets better with subsequent listens.  It's an ode to music itself and the beautiful symbiotic relationship between a hot sunny day and the perfect song to dance to. 'Tonight' on the other hand recalls Less Than Human's 'Dance With Me' in terms of the level of emotion - it's a haunting piece and it helps provide much of The Future Will Come's emotional gravitas.

On The Future Will Come the Juan Maclean haven't just re-confirmed their abilities, they've moved the goal posts. This a much more human affair and it benefits from the added warmth.

Please buy, don't steal, this album.  It's available on on CD , LP and MP3.

BP x

Juan Maclean-space / Official Site.