Album Review: Vitalic / ‘Rave Age’ (Different)

★★★☆☆

Planting himself in the middle of a crossroads makes Vitalic’s cause a case of picking which side of the Frenchman you’re on. Synth-pop designs one minute, bracing, balls-out electro-bass/fidget marauders the next, are raised on near enough a rolling one on-one off basis, pulling you between rooms. For example, in no way are the opening two tracks related, though you can at least say, with an open mind, that Pascal Arbez-Nicolas is rolling with a very definite flow. Don’t like it, then rearrange the playlist accordingly.

Basically Vitalic wants to have it both ways, and not with a great deal of subtlety in either direction; big sounds are always at the top of the list, nailing “Fade Away” and “Under Your Sun” as electro-heart-stoppers prancing though the dry ice glazing ’80s keyboards. It’s hard to tell what’s playing Vitalic’s teacher’s pet and what is more of a hobby.

The midpoint “Nexus” dips in between with a stadium-sized epiphany of crystal-cut hope and awe that could also house a first person shooter, and “Lucky Star” has the traits of an EDM hit as it puts fire into the Euro framework without going over the top. He’ll save that for electro infernos “La Mort Sur le Dancefloor” and “Next I’m Ready”, jarring together the indie-precious lyrics and lawnmower revs. Thrills and spills, intent on contradicting one another at every turn.

File under: Bloody Beetroots, Digitalism, Hervé

Matt Oliver