Not to be confused with Moulinex, the French household appliance manufacturer, Moullinex (with two ‘l’s) is the alias of Portuguese DJ and producer Luis Clara Gomes. Gomes has been working in the disco and house worlds for a while now, and has done remixes for the likes of Cut Copy, Röyksopp & Robyn, Sebastien Tellier, among others. Though his music continues to have a foot solidly in those territories, Moullinex reaches beyond the typically limited parameters of dance music and brings Gomes’ other tastes and influences into the fold: Brazilian music, funk, even a bit of sun-kissed indie jangle.
To briefly keep going with the feet-themed metaphors, Moullinex’s 2012 album, Flora, found Gomes dipping his toe into warm pop pools, but its sound still largely reflected what had been up to that point his primary mode. Flora was never steely, but it was often still unmistakably mechanical, hewn to certain standards though nonconformist in its own non-confrontational way. Surely one of the highlights on Flora was its closing track, a cover of Michael Sembello’s “Maniac”, made famous by the film Flashdance. Gomes’ seaside discotheque take on the synth pop novelty replaced the original’s frantic pace with a sexier bounce, and featured none other than Electroclash provocateur Peaches handling the vocals.
There were a few guest appearances on that first Moullinex album, but on his latest, Elsewhere, Gomes is firmly in control as both musician and vocalist. An interesting side result is that Elsewhere at times could be easily mistaken for a team effort instead of the solo project that it is. That result is down to more than just, say, the group harmonies on the chorus of songs like “Things We Do”, with its all-inclusive invitation, “with open arms we love everyone”, which somehow comes across as endearingly genuine.
The album expands and contracts elastically with the feel of multiple members naturally giving and taking space around one another. A particularly notable example of this is the second single to be taken from Elsewhere, the title track, which cartwheels with pastel guitar figures, an upbeat thump, and some well-placed flutes and emphatic whistling. “Elsewhere” can feel almost too loose and spontaneous to have come from a single creator.
“I feel you all come and go / You gotta let it show / You’re living lies with someone else / We dream of love, we sing of fear”, Gomes openheartedly sings in his Air-on-a-sugar-high voice. “Show me inside your feelings / Take up all my time / Dream a little longer / Sleeping by the fire”. Deeply introspective it may not be, but it conveys the album’s posi-core directive.
Elsewhere is an ebullient escape to wherever it is you would rather be. Perhaps that somewhere is in Lisbon dancing your legs off and mouthing “I can’t stop loving you” along with “Can’t Stop”, a banging club track laced with a swerving guitar line. Relentlessly upbeat but still intelligently crafted, Elsewhere doesn’t overthink its methods and motives, though it can be a little more emotionally rounded than it first appears. Still, the point is: it’s summer for at least the next three months. As “Anxiety” succinctly puts it: “Anxiety/Raining down on me/Close your eyes/Don’t worry child”.