Despite minimalist techno sets like their Groovetechnology mix from 2001, Swayzak are still largely pop producers, and Dirty Dancing also shows them more conscious of their strengths than on their last standard LP, the sprawling Himawari. Right off the bat, the opener "Make Up Your Mind" -- an atmospheric house track with vocals by Clair Dietrich -- lays out exactly what makes Swayzak so special: impossibly crisp production, impeccable interplay between rhythm and effects, and the most difficult quality for any electronica producer to nail down: a crucial, distinctive sound. Dirty Dancing is actually much darker than the duo's previous work; standouts "Buffalo Seven" and "In the Car Crash" are stark synth pop tracks that put the lie to the fallacy that synthesizers can't sound dirty. The vocals on the latter are pure razor-wire, while the production approaches the seminal "Warm Leatherette" by the Normal (another masochistic crash fantasy). Dirty Dancing also marks a concrete break from the sublime house melancholia of Swayzak's early work. Most of the tracks here approach the cold darkwave of the nascent electroclash scene, made explicit on "I Dance Alone," a feature for Detroit electro favorites Adult. Over the course of three gorgeous albums, Swayzak have made it very clear they have no need for bandwagon-jumping, but any crossover that can expose music this good to a wider audience is welcome.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush