Aside from seeming to have invented or borrowed his stage name from a third-rate wrestler, the acclaimed collector of compliments Mano Le Tough is one to wear his heart on his sleeve at the same time as showing a softened shrewdness. With an understanding of electronic songs and pseudo-folk fusion, deep house to think to, and wavily-colored looks into a Balearic wishing well, it’s a debut record that has Niall Mannion moving around the dancefloor just when you think you’ve got him settled in one position.
There may be shrugs at the album’s early and returning pallor, such as on opening track “Cannibalize” and “Primative People” playing like a porch Jose Gonzalez with a little more electronic arsenal at his disposal. Progressively there becomes a selection of narrow yet expressive grooves to get into — “Everything You’ve Done Before” comes together like a patchwork orchestra — and a development of cosmic disco-themed color (“Changing Days”, the late check-in of “The Sea Inside”). With Mannion’s enigma coming to the fore, playing wary lookout on “Dreaming Youth” and humming sweet deep electro house nothings on “A Thing From Above” — and with, of course, a fit of vocal acting lethargically captivated, it becomes a good session of thoughtful headphone house able to tilt your sofa’s incline. Not a maker of big statements, but a creator of an accomplished presence and persona.
File under: John Talabot, Deniz Kurtel, Blackbelt Andersen
Barcelonan acupuncturist John Talabot and his first Fin edition were both ’80s-synth savvy and made for the Balearics, like the keyboard fashionistas had dropped their first E and found out what dance music was really all about — an excellent bond of past and future. Now it comes with an extra disc of additional, alternative and remixed material, the latter two supplements making you wonder whether Talabot will dare to fight the awe of the sunset’s glow
Those fitting his original route include “I Want Tonite” inviting you to the church of Talabot, a handout of cosmic disco to bless your mind via a Balearic big bang. The LP version of “Matilda’s Dream” eases into position despite its angularity, its chrome polish glistening with a calming embrace, and the meditative, angels landing of “Mai Mes” surveys the scenery from an exalted vantage point. With post-dubstep signifiers on “Journeys,” these unexplored areas are worthy extenders of the context, and the prominent orchestral groundswell to “Last Land” gets a tetchier refix from Kenton Slash Demon, provocatively putting a dent in the dreams without breaking stride.
“Destiny” and “Journeys” are also vocalised more, but the former’s Bullion version reveals too much 80s scenery and turns its nose up at the less is more. The ’80s Tapemix of “Zanzibar” and the Pachanga Boys taking on “When The Past Was Present” go close to disappearing into dry ice — though picturing it by sunset with love in your heart, you’ll give these and the album’s inspirational objectives the benefit of the doubt.