By: Eric Greenwood
The Sensualists hail from Portland, Oregon and have concocted an unusual collage of pop, electronic experimentation, and sampling along with some pitch-bended, Luscious Jackson-esque vocals. The band’s sound is based on the noises found in a wide range of vintage keyboards, most notably the Farfisa and the Univox. Unlike contemporaries such as Stereolab, The Sensualists are not a throw back to musical styles past. The emphasis is on exploration as opposed to imitation. The tones are familiar because these instruments have easily recognizable sounds, but The Sensualists layer these tones in such a way as to make them sound somewhat new and fresh.
“Bedtime For Frances” sounds like an instrumental outtake from the Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head while “Spacial Bodies” harkens back to early-eighties electro-pop with nursery-rhyme vocal melodies. It seems to have a heavy New Order presence as well. The constant thump of the drum machine coupled with its stark bass line drenched in reverb recalls New Order’s seminal album, Movement. There is also a trippy, psychedelic feel to the album best evidenced in “Twitter Glitter” that would certainly please Brian Eno or even Primal Scream fans. The Sensualists also specialize in fluffy, danceable pop (“Clips And Peaks”). This very promising debut lures you in with its spaced out melodies, warm synthetics and hypnotic grooves, but it’s the overwhleming sense of dilettentism that sets it apart.