When you get down to it, Bevan Smith has made one hell of a Hot Chip record here.
For the New Zealand-born Smith, his work under the guise of Introverted Dancefloor is just one more step in a seemingly never-ending span of projects for him, having played with bands like Ruby Suns and recorded under names like Aspen and Singer before. In many ways, the bedroom-funk of Introverted Dancefloor is just another progression for him, finding beats and grooves that make for great late-night driving or one-person dance parties, but clearly aren’t designed to be floor-fillers.
Yet one can’t blame listeners for coming in and hearing Smith’s small, too-shy vocals and immediately linking back to Alexis Taylor’s hushed crooning in Hot Chip, a clear influence and obvious template for Smith’s own dance excursions. At times, Smith seems eager to simply explore a groove, like on the shimmering “Staking the Ground” or the European coffee-house vibe cultivated on “Pipedream”.
A couple portions barely break over a minute, but then he makes up for it with the building “Feeling Unsound”, which bears a striking resemblance to early-2000s acts like F/C Kahuna. During the longer pieces, Smith’s soft, quiet vocals paint a picture of genuine introversion and alienation, “Feeling Unsound” serving as a paranoid plea for a loved one to not move to L.A. For the album’s best cut, “Take It High”, he speaks in vaguely more optimistic terms, but builds the track like the monster it truly is, breaking before the chorus to break out bass-heavy echo synths that absolutely fill your headphones, arguably the only time on the album Smith so shamelessly goes for a big, radio-friendly “pop” chorus, but not without his own twist on the whole thing.
Although Smith’s self-titled effort does lap itself texturally at times, Smith’s weirdness and fully realized sense of doubt helps paint Introverted Dancefloor as a different kind of indie-club beast, one that wears its influences proudly but translates them into something personal, instead of just aping his idols outright. Despite the project’s incredibly apt name, one still can’t help but wonder what Smith will do when he’s gotten out a bit more, soaked it all in, found the confidence his voice clearly needs, and made something even more personal, explosive, and fundamentally him.