Album Review: mastersystem – Dance Music

‘Dance Songs’ is the fantastic debut album from mastersystem, an indie supergroup of brothers. The band consists of Scott Hutchinson and Grant Hutchinson from Frightened Rabbit, Justin Lockey from Editors and his brother James Lockey from Minor Victories who have come together to produce something that has its own unique identity.

‘Dance Music’ is far more guitar-driven than Editors, and certainly heavier than Frightened Rabbits while maintaining the same passion. It is a collection of melody-driven stomping indie rock gems boosted by the passionate, expressive singing of Hutchinson and powered by thunderous drums, melodic, driving bass and visceral distorted guitars.

This sound creates an enervating pulse-racing contrast between the heavy, loud instrumentation and sweet melodies. Witness the single off the album,’Notes On A Life Not Quite Lived’:

Hutchinson says of the album: “I thought it would be interesting to play around with the themes of restlessness and dissatisfaction on this album, both as a counterpoint to the exuberance of the music and as an obvious reference to the angst and tension I heard in the grunge and fuzz of my teenage years. This is not the angst of a teenager, however. This is the anxiety of a man in his mid-30s, and for a lot of this record I found myself wrestling with the ways in which I am not quite doing life right, in spite of appearing to lead a relatively joyful, playful and artistic existence”.

Indeed there are pognant themes of self-reflection of leaving one’s youth and heading for middle age throughout the album, expressed in a sense of urgency and anger at times and other times steeped in melancholy – see ‘Peaks and Troughs’.The quiet/loud tone evokes the style at times of the Pixies – slow burning fuses of songs that explode unexpectedly.

‘Old Master’ perfectly captures this dichotomy – have a listen to the glorious Mogwai remix:

It’s a terrific debut – passionate, committed and melodic with a spine.

The album is out now through Physical Education Records: you can stream/buy here. You can catch the band on tour in April and May too:

Wed, 25, UK, Manchester, The Deaf Institute
Thu, 26, UK, Newcastle upon Tyne, The Cluny
Fri, 27, UK, Glasgow, The Art School
Sat, 28, UK, Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
Mon, 30, UK, Birmingham, Birmingham O2 Institute 3
Tue, 1, UK, London, Oslo

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