Les Rythmes Digitales Darkdancer Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

With 'Jacques Your Body' currently aiding the sale of French cars, Wall of Sound have...

Paul Sullivan 2005

LRD's supporters generally view his 1999 Darkdancer opus as a prophetic vision that foreshadowed the current 80s electro-pop vogue; his detractors, meanwhile, see the album as a Daft Punk tribute.

Both statements contain kernels of truth. Daft Punk were certainly mining a similar musical seam before LRD hit the scene, though in Mr. Lu Cont's defence, Darkdancer was a much bolder, less ironic statement, featuring guest appearances from bonafide 80s throwbacks such as Nik Kershaw and Shannon.

Darkdancer's re-release this month has less to do with the cult status it/it's author has since achieved, and more to do with the single 'Jacques Your Body' being belatedly picked up for a Citroen car advert and subsequently climbing into the UK Top Ten.

Cynical industry machinations aside, the album doesn't sound too dated today largely due to the ongoing electro-clash/pro-80s zeitgeist that still rules today's dancefloors - the very zeitgeist in fact, that Darkdancer is said to have spawned.

The official reason for the re-issue is thus to remind us of just how far ahead of its time the project was, though of course most of us knew that already. So as not to be accused or crass opportunism, the label have included a separate CD that features remixes of Darkdancer's biggest tracks - 'Jacques Your Body', 'Music Makes You Lose Control', '(Hey You) What's That Sound?', plus unreleased tracks and two music videos.

The remixes (by Cassius, Junior Sanchez and LRD) are decidedly mediocre. Save for LRD's upbeat take on '(Hey You)...' they struggle to match the lucid allure of the originals - as do the bonus tracks, which sound like second-rate off-cuts from the original project. The only real 'bonuses' are the two entertaining videos for 'Hey You What's That Sound?' and 'Sometimes'.

This re-release may very well help re-introduce LRD to a new audience, but in their rush to capitalize on the surprise success of a single it seems the label have seriously compromised Darkdancer's status as a cult project.

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