GusGus, Mexico

Ian Gittins

By Ian Gittins

on 06.23.14 in Reviews

GusGus’s career trajectory could best be described as “meandering.” Originally formed as a mid-’90s Icelandic filmmaking collective, they soon morphed into an idiosyncratic nine-piece indie/art-rock group before turning to post-house dance music and reinventing themselves again as a quartet of electronic producers and DJs: Birgir Thorarinsson, Daníel Ágúst, Högni Egilsson and Stephan Stephensen.

Equidistant between club bangers and late-night headphones music

Meixco is the third album from this particular line-up and it happily emphasises that GusGus’s long and winding road has led them to a very productive place indeed. Far from difficult or contrary, Mexico is a set of warm, intelligent, nuanced and highly accessible songs that fall equidistant between club bangers and late-night headphones music. Put simply, you can dance to them — slowly, sensually — or sink into an intensive reverie. Tracks such as the languid, beatific “Sustain” and the eerily meticulous “Crossfade” recall the brooding, very human odysseys dreamed up by first-wave techno pioneers the Orb and Future Sound of London, while “Airwaves” unfolds around a profoundly joyous bass throb that sounds like a vivacious 21st-century take on Detroit house. If Swedish House Mafia were handy shorthand for everything that is wrong in contemporary electronic music, these low-key Icelandic alchemists are close to representing all that is glorious about it.