SCQ Rating: 75%
As electronic music continues to infiltrate the mainstream, we’re seeing a generation ahead of even the early hipsters reclaiming the bands that pioneered machine-music in the first place. During a time when the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is honouring Kraftwerk’s entire catalog disc-by-disc, even Danish duo Laid Back, who had a string of popular songs in the early 80s, have reemerged to toast their influence.
John Guldberg and Tim Stahl never disappeared entirely from the music scene but Cosyland offers a fresh spin on the retrospective mentality, taking rarities from their early 80s analog tapes, tweaking them appropriately, and unleashing them onto a new audience. Reintroducing Laid Back’s sound proves an immediate no-brainer; the likes of “Cocaine Cool” (an extended cut over the version that premiered on a 2010 compilation) and “Get Laid Back” present a gorgeous merger of clean electronics that purists will bask in and island accents that prevent the duo from sounding sterile. Add whispery but well-mixed vocals sporadically into the flow and Laid Back assert themselves as entirely viable in 2012. The fixed rhythm of “Get Laid Back” allows some light space-disco impulses to rumble beneath while “Cocaine Cool” bubbles over some light crooning like an ideal pre-club anthem.
And although the title track is among their best examples of sleek electro-pop on display, its double-inclusion (the other being the video edit) introduces the overarching issue with Cosyland: there isn’t enough here to satiate even an EP’s worth. Having removed the lengthier but near-identical “Cosyland” mix, this release expires in less than twenty minutes, which feels particularly disappointing because what’s here is genuinely fantastic. Had Laid Back added some newly written material to these archival beauties – now that would’ve been a real return-to-form.