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Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - 'Dance The Way I Feel'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:32 UK time, Friday, 6 November 2009


No matter how helpful, no matter how well designed or crafted they may be, robots are always best when they're just a little bit rubbish. It puts them on a par with the rest of us.

It's a lot easier to think fondly of an automaton which walks stiffly, or can't manage stairs, or struggles to comprehend a relatively simple human emotion like hunger, than some sparkling metal über-person which is smarter than you, prettier than you, and learned to play boogie-woogie piano to a better-than-Jools-Holland standard in an afternoon. And this is because we all know people like that, people who excel in one area, but can't really get to grips with something most people find pretty straightforward. Y'know...NERDS.

(Here's the video. It's a party in a groovy cloud, man.)

This applies to electropop too. Music technology being what it is, it would be relatively easy to make everything in a song like this sound perfect. To lose the buzzy synth sounds and sneezy drums and replace them with shiny plushness and velvet wonder, but just as the human characters in any early Disney-Pixar film will tell you, the closer you get to perfection, the more unsettling and strange you appear.

Ou Est aren't even trying to be perfect anyway. They come from a place where all the robots are dirty, sleazy and grumpy, but never happy or bashful. They come from some scabby bar in the middle of Camden where romance may be thin on the ground, but the filth is not. And being big-hearted people in a brutal cyberworld, their only outlet is to act in as human a manner as possible, if only cos it makes the robots tip their heads to one side slightly and ask "what is this human emotion you call 'dance'?"

Trouble is, having fairly literally opened a can of worms by expressing their vulnerable, meaty human innards, all the melancholy sadness comes pouring out. 'Dance The Way I Feel' may be a charming pop song about dancing yourself cheerful, but it's quite a sad one too.

Naturally this just confuses the robots even more - "if you are 'happy', why do you 'cry'?" - and ironically, this confusion reminds everyone that they're not perfect either, which just makes them all the more loveable.

So remember, you're not just listening to pretty music here, you're helping to create a brave new world where robots and humans can grow to understand and, maybe one day, love one another. Don't be scared, chickabiddies, Ou-topia awaits!

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: November 9th

(Fraser McAlpine)


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