pool

EP Review: Flex - Pool

When I reviewed their debut release Pool they were singing about videogames and I was pointing out their similarity to Alphabetical-era Pheonix. The subject matter may have moved on but the musical approach remains very familiar on this follow up release.

Flex - Pool

'Flex' is full of the tight guitar work and polished melodies that back a functional and bookish vocal. The slightly loose percussion and guitar riffs flecked with funk give this an infectious disco edge but it lacks just a little sophistication and emotion.

The dance floor sass of 'Flex' is countered by the more wistful 'Botox', with its chirpy verses and layered chorus. It feels a little deeper than the title track but in comparison to Pheonix's work, which often features obtuse lyrics that somehow still carry an emotional weight, this feels a little impenetrable. As a result the music is enjoyable but feels a little disposable.

Two remixes feature on this release in support of the originals. Stimming makes a return from the band's debut EP and offers 'Botox' up in the form of a deeper dub, full of dark grooves.

Aeroplane's remix of 'Flex' is the highlight of the EP and the best mix from (Aeroplane alter-ego, now it's a solo act) Vito de Luca I've heard in some time. It's a full 50 BPM slower than the original and adds some deep cosmic disco finesse to the original. The revision suits the vocals, creating a passionate track that more fully communicates the rhythm and desire it sounds like Pool were going for.

Flex is released on 18 February through 2DIY4.

Single Review: Game Over - Pool

Pool's 'Game Over' is a tribute to video games. You don't get enough of those in music in my opinion - who needs love when you've got a 20-hour-a-week Skyrim habit? Of course there could e some sort of clever analogue to love or getting drunk or something going on here but I'm going to plump for the assumption that this Hamburg three-piece just really dig their Donkey Kong.

It's a pretty awesomely catchy-pop record with a lovely bounce to the bass line and a slightly scratchy guitar rhythm. It also sounds quite a bit like Alphabetical-era Phoenix which basically means rather good.

'Don't Say My Name' is similar in style, if ever so slightly less infectious. The rhythm here is tight and fast, the overall feel being a great mixture of a live sound combined with a strong production.

The single also comes with two remixes, one of each track. Solomun takes the vocals from 'Game Over' and puts it on the top of a funky, loose proto-house bass line - either element is fine on it's own but the vocal and the melody just don't really gel for me. Stimming's remix of 'Don't Say My Name' is much better, reigning the track back into a disco-influenced dub that leaves behind almost all of the vocal.

Worth a listen. We like bookish indie euro kids.

Check out a previews of all four tracks below (the order is the original of 'Don't Say My Name', the Stimming mix, the original or 'Game Over' and then the Solomun mix):

BP x

Game Over is out on 2DIY4 on 30 January, you can order it now on Amazon.co.uk on MP3 [afffiliate link].