Pulling together elements of what, in much simpler and easier to categorise times, was referred to as ‘Dance’ and ‘electro’ music, (these days increasingly muffled and obscured by sub sections dreamed up by teenagers who rarely leave their bedrooms) Roosevelt, aka producer Marius Lauber, brings a little bit of German efficiency and European swagger to his debut self-titled album.
It’s a follow on to his Elliot EP, where he showed he could handle friendly fires / TEED like melodic, danceable beats and delicately add his mournful vocals over the top of it all. Even the look of him on the front cover of the record, looking resplendently moody and superior with his great skin and fantastic hair, says ‘slide me in with the cool kids, if you would’.
Largely, it delivers. Lauber’s salvo of Colours and Moving on, released as sighters to the album, are up there with tracks of the year – the bubbling brilliance of the former in particular is worthy of any record released this year, with those melancholy chord changes brightened by the dual assault of these insistent chords and a fizzy rising figure. Throw in some ghostly backing vocals and Lauber’s delivery and its on the irresistable end of the scale. Moving On is tinnier but warmer, but Lauber proves he is a man who can conjure melodies up almost at will.
Similarly, Night Moves carries on the attractive disco/electro feel, and The Sea, taken from the Elliot EP laps around your ears (you see what I did there, right?) leaving its brittle synthy melancholy as it’s aftertaste. Album closer, er, Close drifts away and leaves you mostly satisfied.
And that’s the (slight) shame of it. It verges on being a great record, and it so nearly is. There’s so much to like and admire and pore over. Take away the unneeded into and short filler of Daytona, as atmospheric as they are, and you’re almost there. Give Lauder another year of songwriting experience, and he’s gonna make a masterpiece. Until then, stick him in with the cool kids – he deserves it.
Roosevelt is out now on City Slang.