Music Go Music - "Warm in the Shadows" (Expressions)
For those who’ve been keeping track, Expressions doesn’t bring any new Music Go Music material to the table. They’ve taken all three of their pretty good EPs on Secretly Canadian, resequenced them, and made an all-encompassing best-of for themselves. The result is a solid debut that immediately screams Abba, disco and “guilty pleasure” for the pre-ironic high school kids who don’t realize they can play football and still get crazy on the dance floor to their parents’ wedding soundtrack.
Most people will be content to turn the stereo to 11. Which is fair enough, but Expressions is more than just proficient revivalism. It’s a pop record that puts the continuously renewed interest in disco into historical context. Blondie, Joan Jett, and Pat Benatar hold sway on “Light of Love.” “Love, Violent Love” is all Frida Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog. Ziggy Stardust and his Martian spiders definitely had a lot to do with quite a few of the “Thousand Crazy Nights.” And “Reach Out” is a perfect storm of frat jams from Pink Floyd prog to “Rock of Love” hair metal to Chili Pepper bass-slapping.
The only glaring error is the self-indulgent watch-checker “Warm in the Shadows,” a nine-minute groove that sticks to the script and never really goes anywhere. In this case, Italians do it much better. Bygones become bygones almost immediately, though, as the opening chords of “Goodbye, Everybody” hit. It’s their “Rocket Man,” and I fully expect every show to end with the whole band huddled around a spot-lit piano crooning this perfect closer to an audience universally near climax.
But let’s not get too far off topic: “Just Me” and “Explorers of the Heart” show that Music Go Music is still the heir apparent to the Abba throne. Yes, Alphabeat and Mika still have some time to make a run at the Europop crown, and are actually European to boot, but it’s going to be hard to find a catchier record than Expressions this year. The fractured influence of the original disco, sent into diaspora after Disco Demolition Night, is put back together here.