Melbourne’s Cool Sounds live up to their namesake. Imagine an alternate universe where Mac Demarco, My Morning Jacket, and a less Beach Boys-centric Dent May formed an indie rock Voltron and put out an album that while never truly rocked it floated along nicely on a cloud of jangly melancholy. That’s what Cool Sounds does on their debut LP Dance Moves. It’s a chill collection of tunes that feel like a late night drive through desolation to some unknown glow on the horizon.
So Mr. Mac Demarco has his “jizz jazz” sound and Cool Sounds has their “jazz gaze”. I feel slightly embarrassed to say jizz jazz out loud; as if I’m saying something kind of dirty. However jazz gaze doesn’t seem so lude. I kind of get that description, especially listening to a song like album opener “Control”. It’s a mix of Beach Fossils and My Morning Jacket. It’s as if Jim James decided to cut an album with Dustin Payseur. It’s dreamy guitar tones and airtight rhythm section only go to further that jazzy vibe. “Shake” continues that dream-like late night vibe. Singer Dainis Lacey conjures more MMJ vibe with a bit of Luke Temple thrown in for good measure. Lacey really does have the perfect voice to compliment the melancholy tone throughout Dance Moves.
Elsewhere “Heartbreak” is exquisite synth pop, while title track “Dance Moves” is ornamented with some 80s-style synths and even some sax for good measure. “Rinsed” sounds like early Wild Nothing with an air of The Motels. A nice, driving bass line keeps the track moving along nicely till its conclusion. Album closer “Overgate” has that Captured Tracks vibe, with the Demarco/Beach Fossils/Wild Nothing sound emanating like the light of a sunrise through a shaded window.
Cool Sounds seems to be mining a very specific musical world. One where the drinks are smooth, the air is cool, and the beach is nearly abandoned. Dance Moves is a record for both quiet reflection and conversations with friends. It’s a breezy summer album of the highest order.