Pretty Good Dance Moves: LIMO

Photo: Yishai Weinstein

Pretty Good Dance Moves are pretty, pretty, pretty... well, fair to middling, actually.

Pretty Good Dance Moves


Label: MAD Dragon / Township
US Release Date: 2012-02-07
UK Release Date: 2012-02-07

When musicians inform their emerging audience that their new 'opus du magnifique' LIMO is "a series of movements" (crazily entitled "First" through "Eighth") which must be listened to "as one piece", the Fun-o-Meter doesn't exactly implode with anticipation. "Oh it's mostly instrumental...and there are no silly 'pop' singles either". One might therefore be forgiven for quickly scribbling fake eyes onto their eyelids in biro, politely asking the person beside them to "Wake me up when it's all over" and taking the first train to Sleepyville. But should the Movement be so feared? After all, Beethoven was crazy 'bout the Movement, and he knew how to "bring tha ruckus". Sod it! Bring forth the Movements!...

Worringly, the first triptych of Movements from the 'Daddy Cool' Brooklyn duo of Jimmy Giannopoulos and Aaron Allietta usher in our worst nightmares. "First Movement" sounds like your acid-casualty neighbour whacking a massive frying pan against the wall whilst the opening seconds of Talking Heads' "Once in A Lifetime" circle endlessly from a thriftstore turntable across the hall. The phat-ass bass and new age mumblings on "Second" are infinitely better, but they can't help but conjur a hungover Deee-Lite soundcheck, played in haste so they can "Nip back to the Novotel for a power nap". The jangly, windscreen-wiper tickin' "Three" is dapper and courteous, and there are some enchanting "Look Ma! Jazz hands!" Scatman-style keytar doodlings, but at this point, I'm stroking my chin suspiciously before putting it to you, members of the jury, that PGDM are... DA-DA-DA!...just making this up as they go along! Book 'em Danno!

Praise the Lord then for "Fourth Movement", as just when you've got one sparkly Chelsea boot on the fire escape, LIMO decides to wake up. A Seventies' B-movie medley of "Sabotage" dirty fuzz bass, Blaxploitation horns, and 'ooh la la saucy minx' French whisperings (Hell, what doesn't sound saucy when whispered 'en Francais'? "Ou est le bibliotheque?" PHWOAR!, etc). It's pimped for chewing matchsticks, donning mirrored Raybans and Mac Daddy brown leather jackets whilst rolling across car bonnets and shooting hoodlums simultaneously. It's one carefully stacked wall of cardboard boxes away from a classic car chase through a series of narrowing alleys. That midway through it slips into something more comfortable -- a Kerouacian, bebop beat poet, trumpet 'n' beret underworld -- is just showboating. C'est beau!

Sadly LIMO drives us way too quickly across 110th Street and back into cool beans Bohemia...where nothing much happens. "Fifth" is delicately perfumed and pretty, but you'll secretly be pining for the derring-do of your red, two-door, Ford Gran Turino with the white lightning stripe. It's very 'Air' -- classic très Francais synth chic with a rainbow-carousel melody atop whizzy electro purrings that sound like robot kittens meowing into a giant kaleidoscope. Basically nothing you haven't heard before. Probably over some timelapse nature footage of rolling clouds or chicks being born on the Discovery channel.

Perhaps aware of the setting sun and the thinning audience, LIMO picks up a gear again in the final stretch. "Sixth" is what the inside of an Olympic Health Spa should sound like. Floaty, ambient salt baths, fluffy, chunky dressing gowns, and -- hey now, don't bogart that joss stick honey. It's feeling trippy 'n; hazy in a dimly lit room of scented candles, twinkling like stars before a warm invitation to "Ride with me into this night of Copper / We'll be back in time for supper / Oh yes". Well that's an invitation too good to pass, despite the disconcerting background patter of what sounds like someone having their butt smacked.

Movements' "Seven” and "Eight" hide the real bootylicious trunk o' funk though. Guest vocalist, cunning linguist, and sometime Brazilian Girl Sabina Sciubba slips betwixt her best frosty Germanic and beatific English vocal, digging darker, funkier, and slightly loopier than what's passed before. "Seventh"'s bare-bones bedroom electro tips a wink to early Prince and slyly and seductively swaggers into "Eighth" (Subtitled "I Wonder Why") -- LIMO's finest movement. Hypnotic, classy, confident. As good as it is already, "Eighth" offers a tantalising blueprint for something even finer; a great pop single – the arch-enemy antithesis of LIMO. It's enough to make you paint a placard and organise a rally: Freedom for the Glorious Pop Single! Sabina's Wiccan Woodstock hippy mantra simmers and spirals, passionate and liberated. Alas, like so many of LIMO's glimmers of gold it ends frustratingly abruptly leaving you feeling, well, a bit, foolish stood in your kaftan, facepaint, and sandals.

Ultimately, it's hard to know for whom the Movements of LIMO are best suited. It's certainly dandy for art exhibitions, neon floatation tanks, midnight road trips, and, briefly, crime capers starring people with remarkable moustaches. But it perhaps works best as a calling-card scrapbook showcase for the burgeoning talents of its three makers. For us "kidz on the street" though, and despite a dash of magic moments, it remains artful but ephemeral decoration. As for the "Fear of the Movement", I'd imagine the esteemed, illustrious 'Doc-Doc-Doc-Doctor Beat' would concur when I subscribe, "PGDM's movements are regular enough, but I'd strongly recommend more roughage in their diet -- and high speed car chases with German hippies".

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