Review | Le Galaxie finally throw open the doors of their vibrant, retro-soaked ‘Le Club’

Le GalaxieLeClub

Le Club

[Universal Music Ireland]

You know the whole, ‘If you could travel back in time and kill Hitler when he was a baby, would you?’ conversational gambit that people occasionally break out? One imagines that if Le Galaxie were afforded the powers of turning back the clock, they’d settle in 1984 Los Angeles before quickly taking up residence in The Terminator‘s smoky neon TechNoir nightclub. Hey, if we’re dealing with time travel, expect the odd killer cyborg or two. Besides, who better to provide the tunes?

Le Club, the long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s Laserdisc Nights II and major label debut from the Dublin dance kingpins is worthy of piercing through the haze and soundtracking a man vs. machine smackdown. It’s also the first time that they’ve fully sounded like themselves on record, finally transferring the live show that made their name to an album narrative. As such, Le Club flows like a precisely-constructed set from the first neon-tinged synth line.

‘Put The Chain On’ joins Marilyn Manson’s ‘Killing Strangers’ and Jape’s ‘Seance of Light’ as one of the year’s most immediate and accomplished LP openers. It also makes for a particularly strong showcase for frontman Michael Pope, who previously tended to treat his vocals as textures rather than the full-on, surprisingly emotive force they represent here. Tone quickly established, the likes of ‘Humanise’ and the title track feel much stronger in context than in isolation as singles.

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With Eric Broucek of DFA fame on mixing duties, Le Club packs quite the sonic punch. From the dark call-to-arms of ‘Streetheart’ (which wouldn’t sound out of place on the oft-threatened reboot of The Warriors should it ever come to pass) to the paranoid ‘Lucy Is Here’ to the defiant ‘Who Us’, everything hits. Elsewhere, the Elaine Mai-assisted ‘Love System’ surfaces once again following its appearance on the Fade 2 Forever EP only this time there’s an inspired addition that practically demands Le Galaxie find themselves with their own knowing throwback sitcom just so it can take its rightful place over the opening credits.

Pleasingly, Le Club isn’t weighed down by too many featured artists. Previously found on Daithi’s ‘Case Closed’, Cork-based vocalist Senita lends a powerful tone to ‘Tell Me Twice’ and ‘AM LA’ while Fight Like Apes’ MayKay all but steals the show as ‘Carmen’ ushers in the end credits. Fittingly, it’s Michael Pope who takes top honours throughout. He’s found his voice and his band have found theirs.