Few have ever looked to Australia for the latest trends in electronic music. Although it has produced its fair share of innovators, from disco flirts Vanda & Young to hip auteurs The Avalanches, Down Under electronic music is largely seen as the foppish cousin to rock’s more masculine manoeuvres. There was a brief flirtation with acid house in the early ’90s, mainly fueled by British ex-pats, but interest was always confined to pockets of aficionados. Until, that is, the arrival of Flume on forward-thinking label Future Classic.
With comparisons to The Weeknd and Toro Y Moi (whom he supported on a recent London date), 21-year-old Harley Streten has seemingly risen from nowhere to produce one of the most exciting electronic debuts of the year. Breakthrough single “Holdin’ On” is a sublime slice of wobblesome R&B, while the instrumental “Ezra” has crunk beats leavened with a hook that could have been lifted from the Art of Noise. “Left Alone,” which features Melbourne’s magnificently-named Chet Faker, feels delivered straight from a Pentecostal church rather than a precocious kid from the Sydney ‘burbs, while “More Than You Thought” veers towards stomping Skrillex territory without ever resorting to the easy pay-offs the American producer favors.
This album has already knocked Justin Bieber off the No. 1 spot in Australia — an astonishing achievement for music that is still some way from being pure pop. From a trickle to a torrent: This Flume is unstoppable.