Muscles

Guns, Babes, Lemonade (Modular)

It's hard to know when — or if — the Australian one-man dance act known as Muscles is being serious. Live, ensconced behind a small tower of keyboards and contraptions, he might yell to a mixed-bag hipster crowd, "This is my trance song! Do you all like trance?!" Before anyone has time to respond, he'll launch into a lo-fi version of trippy synth runs, churned by a propulsive, primitive drumbeat and punk­ified with his husky-accented yell-singing. And people will simply go bananas, wetting all over the floor with awkwardly animal dance lust and without the usual irony armor. Guns, Babes, Lemonade is the Melbourne-based artist's first release for the can't-fail Modular label, capturing 11 slices of idiosyncratic, keyboard-driven party jams. Each one hits fast, with the light-headed giddiness of a canister of nitrous, bolstered by simple, relentlessly happy, chant-along refrains. On "Ice Cream," the track currently making the club rounds, a million vocal tracks — a chorus of Muscles — praise the redeeming power of his favorite summer treat while straight-up, old-school rave loops bubble up underneath. On "Sweaty," over chirping echo stabs, he hollers, "My hand slipped into your hand! And it was awesome! And it was special!" The disc's final track, built on a circling, climbing, crack-addictive bassline, simply recounts a lovely female admitting, "Hey, Muscles/I love you/I wanna have your babies!" By the end of this weirdly compelling, eminently danceable album, you might feel the same.

 
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