Saturday, May 29, 2010

Be So True EP - MillionYoung

Be So True EP

Arcade Sound Ltd.

SCQ Rating: 77%

MillionYoung, formerly known as Mike Diaz, has been garnering a fair deal of attention on the heels of his latest EP, Be So True. While many will relate this rise in profile to the company Diaz keeps - Pitchfork-approved Delorean and fellow chillwave-soul Toro Y Moi are current tourmates - MillionYoung holds his own over the course of Be So True’s quarter-hour, layering electro-inspired keys over beds of dreamy atmosphere. Sure his one-man-plus-laptop set-up jives predictably to indie’s recent onslaught of bedroom artists, all nostalgia-driven and retro-motivated, but Diaz doesn’t shy behind his reverb.

Instead, Be So True EP evokes a slightly more assertive approximation of Junior Boys’ electro-pop, understating that Canadian duo’s romantic proclivity in favour of club-ready immediacy. ‘Cynthia’, with its playful bass keys and digital flourishes, broadens the Junior Boys’ detailed intimacy to anthemic levels as Diaz calls out in effect-muddled vocals. Arguably better is ‘Soft Denial’, an 8-bit coda-stream delicately entangled with cut-up melodies and a hazy choral reminiscent of Memory Tapes so confidently displayed, you’d be forgiven for missing how carefully constructed it is. Despite how synthetic his equipment sounds, Diaz achieves warmth from these compositions courtesy of some surf-ravished guitar tones that deepen ‘Mien’ and the vocal-hooks melting all over ‘Day We Met’. Like a lot of chill-wave related projects, Be So True’s easy appeal can feel like a cheat, the momentum of its beats so transparently propulsive, its vocals caught in the wake of Merriweather Post Pavilion and –really now - all that chillwave has defined itself as since. What saves MillionYoung’s easy appeal from just as easy criticism comes down to songwriting as, over five tracks, Be So True EP displays versatility at every step. Few records can double-agent so successfully between the club and the bedroom; for that reason alone, MillionYoung finds occasion to fascinate.

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