Review of Just Movement Album by Robert Delong

Robert DeLong's various online biographies make much of his development from adolescent drummer into an indie rock sticks-for-hire; some of the evidence, however, suggests his recent shift from worthy to worldly was less a leap than a calculated step. Exhibit A in support of this hypothesis is the final mini album from his college band Denouement; rather than the pleasant throwaway jangle of, say, The Drums, half of Cartography - especially the title track - sounds like it was created by weirdy beardy dream poppers Animal Collective on an afternoon off.

Robert Delong Just Movement Album

With his "new" all digital identity surfacing in 2010 complete with an orange X slapped all over his face and t-shirts, Just Movement arrives in good time to surf the EDM wave currently making young Americans reach deliriously for their glowsticks.

As Brits, it's easy to be a little snooty about our trans-Atlantic brothers finally discovering about getting out of it to get into it thirty years too late. But whilst there's bucketloads of insipid filler to be had over there, Delong shows instead how to twist things up, the moombahton-dirty bass of Global Concepts and his sweary YOLO mission statement bound to put off the Ivy League crowd.  The title track is more precise and underplayed, but still its own peculiar brand of anthemic synth pop with bite.

This sounds like a reinvention of sorts, but the most intriguing aspect at play here is a perceptive refusal to completely let go of all the things he learned whilst hanging round with fuzzy faced dudes with glasses. Clearly there are elements of Just Movement on which Delong seemingly can't quite let go his roots, Complex By Degree's streetwise classicism and the booming major keys of Few Years Make or Happy would give Passion Pit or M-83 a run for their civilised money.

Is our boy hedging his bets, not daring to let go of either demographic as those suits at the label might say? Maybe. But there's also a school of thought that there are fewer barriers in taste than before the Arctic Monkeys first walked the earth. Either way, this is still a work in progress, with Survival of The Fittest sounding just out-of-character nasty. The eloquent final words, though, go to Perfect (One for his fans, the self-appointed Tribe of Orphans, to raise their hands to) and Here (Sugary vocals over a mind bending harder techno backdrop).

It seems, then, that your past always catches up with you. Whilst Robert Delong's is nothing to be ashamed of, it proves on Just Movement that it's a foreign country still worth keeping a passport ready for.

Andy Peterson

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