by Estella Hung

24 January 2011

cover art



(Upper Class Recordings)
US: 16 Nov 2010
UK: 22 Nov 2010

No doubt there are worse bands to sound like than Daft Punk. However, sounding like Daft Punk has been the thing of the moment for the past five years, and if you’re not sound-tracking a blockbusting film—like Daft Punk—or parading some comically outlandish personae—like the Midnight Juggernauts—then it takes some guts to enter the game this late. DVAS don’t seem to be daunted. It appears that the band has no higher aim than summoning a mood for debauchery. After all, the group’s chief inspiration has been quoted to be Black Rain, a film about sex addiction starring Michael Douglas. Accordingly, the Canadian outfit’s second album, Society, is geared to lubricate dance limbs and aid insobriety with plenty of synth action, but it fairly quickly runs out of puff.

It begins in good epicurean fashion, though. The title track is baroque in detail and effete in effect, and therefore an accurate encapsulation of drugged-up excess. The quartet makes a fair stab at brooding 80s synth-pop with “Ambient Room” and includes some de rigueur ironic detachment in the form of “Consenting Adults”, which has lead vocalist Jered Stuffco deadpanning about consorting with a prostitute. “Watching You” sounds like a creepier version of Discovery’s “Digital Love”, and is memorable for it.

Thereafter the exuberance drops off vertiginously. “Questions”, an already lackluster dance track that sounds like Paul Oakenfold on an off day, features say-nothing lyrics; while “Telegraph” is almost lulling in its lack of conviction. Moreover, the trace of irony instilled before evaporates completely now, leaving a gaping hole for “Back2Basix”, a Marvin Gaye-like number that’s as cringe-worthy as its title. By the end, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Society, as an electro-dance album, is impotent. Too many drugs and too much alcohol perhaps?




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