As a 12″ record, last year’s “Happy House” was about as monumental as a vinyl single can be in this day and age. Clocking in at over 12 minutes of irresistibly chunky bass and vintage piano stabs, with DFA mainstay Nancy Whang intoning space-bound euphoria throughout, its impact in certain circles has inadvertently primed the musical landscape for The Juan Maclean’s second album, The Future Will Come. However, with Whang adding vocals to the majority of the album’s tracks, the man-machine motif central to the previous Less than Human is forced to take a backseat.
“One Day,” for example, plays out like post-modern musical theater, relating romantic fallout with an angsty callousness. John Maclean and Whang’s personas take turns grazing each other emotionally with a measured affectedness that is dictated by the track’s regimented pulse. It’s only after the chorus arrives in a gush of pure synth tones, and the strings signal an arrestingly succinct epiphany, that you get a better sense of the fragile dynamic they allude to. As such, this hot-and-cold interplay serves as the major thematic content of the album, be it set to the strutting disco funk of “Accusations” or the expansive melancholy that permeates the 303-powered grandeur of “Tonight.” If you are expecting a dance album echoing the unencumbered bliss of “Happy House,” then you might be slightly miffed. However, because of the ground it covers, The Future Will Come is undoubtedly a more humanized affair, and in turn, a fuller appraisal of modern day futurism as well.
File Under: LCD Soundsystem, The Human League, Outhud