The Present Lover

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For those who found themselves enraptured by Vladislav Delay's first Luomo album, the wait for the follow-up seemed torturous, interrupted only by the occasional teaser. The greatest appetite-whetter was "Diskonize Me"/"Body Speaking," a 12" that forecasted further use of vocals and more succulent, tactile beats. The Present Lover carries on with a sound that falls smack in the middle of micro-house and deep house, one that's less wrapped up in mystery (read: more vocal-based, more pop, less spacious). This has less to do with coy subtleties and more to do with full-on getting it on. It's an opulent, full-bodied sound; aided by a broader palette of rhythms and starring roles from male and female vocalists, the end results are so worth the wait. While there are those minor yet meaningful adjustments to Delay's approach, his knack for crafting a late-blooming hook -- the kind that have the tendency to literally sweep a dancer off her feet -- is in effect more so than ever before. Just as Delay can work you into a state of hypnosis, he can slyly slip in an unexpected change. Hope that you're never standing when the three-minute mark of "What Good" hits, for your knees will surely buckle -- you will look like a fool, but at least you will be a bliss-addled fool. It's not all roses, however: the purpose behind a reconfigured and inferior "Tessio," with further vocal presence and for-the-sake-of-it acoustic guitar, seems to have everything to do with hammering home the notion that the sound has been changed up. Another detracting factor is "Visitor"'s dopey line about black coffee and feta cheese. (One must go to great lengths to avoid an endless stream of beaming platitudes when discussing this fellow's work.) Delay's imposing stature cannot be denied. The Present Lover only cements the man's status as some sort of Nordic deity. [The Japan edition adds a bonus track.]

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