Flume, Flume

Bill Brewster

By Bill Brewster

on 02.19.13 in Reviews

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.

One of the year’s most exciting electronic debuts

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.