Kalabrese's Independent Dancer saunters in like a lazy lover on a too-hot day - cocksure, smooth and a little hard to resist, turning up late after a full six years have elapsed since his debut. Sacha Winkler's music (to use his proper name) has a little of the warm electronic funk that made Kindness' World You Need A Change Of Heart one of my favourite albums of last year.
The opening track, Purple Rose, is a sensual, bluesy funk track. Cowbells tinker, some country guitar gently strums and sultry confident female vocals from Sarah Palin (presumably not THAT Sarah Palin) form a duet with Winkler's own.
Let The Good Times Roll - another duet, this time with A.C Kupper - keeps the pressure up. It's a dubby disco number, sassy falsetto vocals bumping up along a tidy bass line and sly muted guitar as the listener is implored to get down.
And it's clear, just a few songs in, that Kalabrese can make really good music. It manages to be lean and yet still feels alive and full of detail, applying the focus of minimal to a creative and chaotic funk record.
The moods throughout the album shift, creating moments where the hot sunshine gives way to chilling rain. Stone On Your Back is a troubled acknowledgment of the stresses of ambition and the resentment it can create in those waiting for you by the sideline and it isn't clear which side Kalabrese is on. The music creates a swirling fear, like storm clouds brewing, as a piano melody shifts uneasily.
Unfortunately the album is plagued by it's generosity, straining under the weight of its 13 tracks. Almost half of these are over six-minutes in length and the album totals 80-minutes. It means Independent Dancer peters out rather than crashes to a conclusion. The gentle, jazzy Find A Place is a suitable close - contemplative and surreal - but it follows a section of the album that has a clutch of similar groove-led numbers.
With all the exciting pop numbers up front it just feels like hard work. Why did we get to enjoy Let The Good Times Roll and Palin's other duet, the beautiful Fresh And Foolish, so early and then have to do all the work to earn them without any such pay-off coming?
Independent Dancer has some genuinely fantastic moments, but it's wrapped in a difficult to consume package. It's brilliant and challenging and frankly a little irritating, but a album you should hear all the same.