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‘Disco Discharge: Euro Beats’- Review

In 2009, it was reported that Russian Prime Minister and renowned hard man Vladimir Putin had scheduled an ABBA tribute act- ‘Bjorn Again’- to play a secret gig for him at Lake Valdai north of Moscow. According to Alan Jones, author of the incredibly informative and stylish liner notes for MrPinks’ Disco Discharge series, Modern Talking- one of the first bands featured on ‘Disco Discharge: Euro Beats’- are the biggest Eurodisco act ever aside from ABBA. My mind wanders when pondering the likelihood of Putin recruiting a multitude of disco pop acts to satisfy his musical cravings, providing him with the perfect accompaniment to judo-chop-shimmy the night away.

Scarily, Modern Talking’s track ‘Atlantis Is Calling (S.O.S For Love)’, featured on ‘Euro Beats’’ first disc, could have been released by either Klaxons or Hurts a matter of months ago. Perhaps there is even some connection by Klaxons there, in the ‘Atlantis’? “They” say that history repeats itself, but sometimes its circularity becomes slightly terrifying. Similarly, The Twins’ ‘Desert Place’ has the 2-step pulsating synth bassline that has become the staple of so many dance or electro/rock crossover acts (even if they shun the term) from both sides of the pond over the past few years: think of MGMT’s ‘Kids’, Foals’ ‘Mathletics’, most songs by White Lies, and a whole slew of other tunes.

Despite so many contemporary British bands attempting to meld the rhythms and mentality of dance music with the aesthetic of guitar rock- a world apart from Brit-Pop’s straight up Beatles guitar pop formulae, which seldom entered the realm of electronic instruments- it’s surprising how little influence the dance subgenre of American disco (as evidenced on Disco Fever USA) had on the current sound. In ways slightly unexpected from a culture with such huge capacity for global communication, it seems that the legacy of much of the ‘dance revival’ music produced in the UK during the 21st Century is rooted in European disco: amalgamating equal parts early 80’s New Romanticism as well as other sub-genres of dance. The tear drop synth sounds, the massively gelled quiffs with shaved sides, the practically 2 note chugging basslines. It’s all there, and this disco compilation exemplifies what much of today’s musical production pertains to.

The majority of ‘Euro Beats’ is more engaging than Disco Fever USA (reviewed here). This may partly be because Eurodisco’s penchant for vocals is stronger than the majority of the American disco on Pinks’ aforementioned compilation, which possibly contributes to the tunes sounding slightly more contemporary than those on the aforementioned USA compilation. Although ‘Euro Beats’ is still maxing out the cheese-factor, it’s still slightly less ‘slap-bass sex music’ cheesy than the disco featured on Disco Fever USA as the tracks on this record are further down disco’s timeline (early 80’s rather than mid 70’s)and therefore chronicle a more developed and ‘mature’ side to the genre.

With tracks like Moon Ray’s ‘Comanchero’ and Modern Talking’s ‘Atlantis is Calling’ setting both a slightly slower pace and a more epic sensibility to this double disc set than Disco Fever USA, it’s admittedly not as suited to raucous parties or late night orgies as its American counterpart. However, this also makes it difficult to understand when exactly it would be suitable to spin ‘Disco Discharge: Euro Beats’. It’s not really boogie-inducing party music, and although sharing many similarities with some modern day disco infused guitar bands, it wouldn’t quite beat The Rapture or Clor in the ‘who to play next on the ipod’ race during the morning commute…unless I was having a particularly 80’s hair day. ‘Euro Beats’ is obviously a painstakingly well-researched, and expertly compiled, collection, though I struggle to think when the perfect situation to play it would be.

I know that Russia have just won the 2018 World Cup bid and all, but I’m thinking I could post Putin my copy of ‘Euro Beats’ as one last little treat. I’m not a football fan, so maybe it could be a token of my appreciation for relieving England of what would have been inevitable World Cup horror?

MrPinks will be holding a Disco Discharge clubnight on 25th February at a venue to be decided. Check http://www.facebook.com/discodischarge for details.

Read our latest entry on Disco Discharge here awaiting the 2012 release!

- Tim Robins

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