Sometimes a band's name really has nothing to do with the music they release; sometimes it's dead-on. In the case of Introverted Dancefloor, the latter definitely applies. The guy behind the name, Bevan Smith, makes music that sounds like it was designed for late-night solo dance parties. Hairbrush in hand, lights down low, hearts bruised, and computer almost overheating as it cranks out pounding drum patterns and glittering synth sequences. It's entirely likely that Smith crafted all of ID's self-titled debut album in just such a fashion. The tracks vary from short downtempo snatches of whispered melody and pads to long complex songs with overlapping synths and skittering drum machines. Inspired by IDM originators like Aphex Twin and Autechre, with some latter-day glitchtech, electronic sadcore, depressofunk, and even some machine disco thrown in the mix, Smith creates shining, coldly brutal (but frequently pretty) shards of sounds and rhythm with his mumbled, introspective vocals on top. Mostly sounding like he's singing quietly to himself as he twists dials and adjusts levels, the vocals are just another part of the mix, impossible to latch onto, but easy to feel on some deeper level. The album works best when vocals, melody, and music all build into something almost epic on the longer tracks like "Feeling Unsound," or when he stops being moody to the point of motionless and gets some grooves going ("Take It High," the funky "Happiness Is Such a Mess"). More songs like the latter and the album might have been more fun. It also might not have had the same unsettling, beguiling effect that it does. The offhand sadness, short snippets of songs, and gauzy sense of melancholia that permeate the record give it some depth and emotional resonance that a simple collection of dance tracks may not have been able to deliver. It's not perfect -- the sounds are a little samey from track to track and the whispered vocals can be overbearing by the end -- but it's a strong debut and definitely something to reach for next time you need to do some late-night dancing with tears in your eyes.
(Digital Download - Carpark Records #677517010664)