Todd Terje

It's Album Time

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After a decade of releasing singles, remixes, and edits to large amounts of acclaim among in-the-know dance music fans, Norwegian whiz kid Todd Terje finally made an album of his own in 2014. It's Album Time is a pretty self-explanatory title, though it could have been called "I Love Many Different Styles of Dance Music and Will Proceed to Put My Warped Spin on All of Them." Well, that one would have been a mouthful, but it does sort of explain what was in Terje's head as he whips from one style to the next over the course of the record's 12 tracks. Stylish neo-disco is what he's best known for, and if any one style dominates, it's that. Bouncy dancefloor fillers like "Strandbar," "Inspector Norse," "Swing Star, Pt. 2," and the light-as-a-feather "Oh Joy" set the dials for the heart of the disco ball and form the shiny center of the album. Terje's unerring grooves and the sophisticated and melodic sounds he lays over the beat make them the easiest tracks to love. He's less successful when heading off the floor and into the chillout lounge ("Leisure Suit Preben"), the tiki room ("Preben Goes to Acapulco"), or whatever strange place the impossible-to-describe (or listen to more than once) "Svensk Sås" resides, though he does get lucky with a guitar-strumming electro '80s style ("Delorean Dynamite") that begs to have some vocoder vocals over the top. The sweeping, ice-colored synths get the job done fine anyway, and it seems like a path Terje would be wise to follow on future releases. The same can't be said for the one vocal feature on the record that finds a sepulchral Bryan Ferry croaking a version of Robert Palmer's "Johnny and Mary" that Terje decides to take at "Chariots of Fire" tempo and with the same level of portentous drama. It's a huge misstep that threatens to derail the album and wipe away all the good that exists. Take it out, along with a couple of filler-y tracks, and It's Album Time is a solid debut. As it stands, it's a hard album to get your head around and it's a hard album to fully embrace. Terje should set aside the experiments and just focus on making sleek and shiny electro-disco tracks; the rest only gets in the way of a good time.

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