LABEL: FOREIGN FAMILY COLLECTIVE
ALBUM IN A SENTENCE: Brooklyn duo put the smiley back on the face of indie-dance music.
I don’t dance much these days. I could try and style it out and say that’s because nobody’s playing my song but its more about a shyness that I’ve accepted comes with aging.
When I was a student in the 90s, dancing at the indie disco meant drama and angles, solid shapes and sweat. There was a time when it wasn’t a real night out unless we were first on the dancefloor, free to run wild to Timebomb by Rancid. I tell myself that’s a long time ago.
Of course, nobody is really dancing at the moment and the clubs are still shut. Covid is the context that all music is released into in 2021, intentionally or otherwise. At some point, a hedonist confetti cannon is going to explode again. You can see it in mainstream pop. For every artist like Taylor Swift that used lockdown to (beautifully) draw into their own world, there’s a Charlie XCX, Dua Lipa or Georgia reacting to Covid with visceral, sweat-soaked bangers. We have to stay safe, stay distant; but the heart still beats at somewhere around 120bpm.
Which is why the self-titled debut album from Gilligan Moss is such a simple delight. The Brooklyn duo have created a joyous set of songs that are like the friend you can’t resist when they keep looking and waving to you from the dancefloor. Gently, insistently, Gilligan Moss want you to ‘take this chance, take this dance.’ With a funky, bouncy-bass sound reminiscent of Lemon Jelly and Skylar Spence/St. Pepsi, this album defies you to stand still.
There’s a pastoral naturalness to the collection that is charming.
Gilligan Moss’ world feels like a secret garden. Songs like album standout ‘Ultraparadiso’ have a roto-scoped, woozy, promise of a hosepipe-ban kind of summer feel. If the album has any kind of message beyond ‘let’s boogie’, it’s found in tracks like ‘Slow Down’ and ‘Special Thing’ that celebrate the wonder and beauty of the natural world. There’s no shade in this album, no darkness or cutting edge, just a big hearted sunshine rising that gently wraps around and brightens the listener.
Even though we don’t, or can’t, Gilligan Moss ask us again to just dance. That request doesn’t depend on a club, it works on the premise that anywhere will substitute for a dancefloor. The thrill of this album is that it can magically turn the middle aisles of a supermarket into something more. Everyone else can be about their business, but with headphones on, pushing the trolley, suddenly the shoulders twitch to catch the beat. No-one else might notice but even if it is imperceptible, Gilligan Moss are turning us back into dancers.