Blondes, Blondes

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 02.03.12 in Reviews

The concept of duality is as obvious as the two sides of a vinyl record, but it suits Blondes on multiple levels. The improvisatory electronic duo of Sam Haar and Zach Steinman initially approached dance music from indie rock’s basement-show terrain, which led to gigs last year opening for scene-straddling elders like Matthew Dear, Simian Mobile Disco and the Juan MacLean. On Blondes’ self-titled follow-up to 2010 EP Touched, however, they explore more meaningful dichotomies, particularly the boundaries between psychedelia and house, as well as between electronic instruments and live performances.

Exploring the boundaries between psychedelia and house, and other dualities

Blondes takes this obsession with pairs to extremes: one disc collects each side of the three duality-oriented 12″ singles Haar and Steinman released last year, plus another couple of interrelated tracks, while the second disc collects relatively like-minded remixes of each by fellow Oberlin alums Teengirl Fantasy, JD Twitch of the legendary Scottish club night Optimo, and eight more. The results are sumptuous but cerebral, settling at various points in the watery nexus between synth-heightened ’70s German acid rock like Ash Ra Tempel and the ’80s beginnings of Chicago house. The most ecstatic cuts, like “Wine” and “Pleasure,” hark to Blondes’ sun-soaked remix of Barcelona house mastermind John Talabot‘s 2010 club- and/or hammock-slayer, “Sunshine.” Proof sometimes good things really do come in pairs.