Miami Horror : Illumination

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Miami Horror : Illumination


Electro-pop outfit Miami Horror have finally released their long awaited debut LP

Electro-pop outfit Miami Horror have finally released their long awaited debut LP Illumination. After spending the past 12 months riding high on a sun-drenched wave of hype, this Melbourne four-piece have firmly carved their name into Melbourne’s ever-burgeoning electronic scene.

Originally the DJ name of north-east Melbournian Benjamin Plant, Miami Horror have since evolved into a fully formed four-piece (with Plant still the primary creative force behind the band), and Illumination is the result of that transformation from solo effort to band.

Current single I Look To You is a joyous electro cut (albeit weighted down by vague and somewhat insipid lyrics). From the loopy and repetitious brass intro, through to guest vocalist Kimbra’s great vocal turn; I Look To You is a ‘90s house throwback (Morcheeba meets Studio 54) that has been primed for the heavy radio play it’s currently receiving. You’re not likely to begrudge its mainstream success; you’ll find yourself wishing more of Ke$ha’s fan base were listening to music like this.

An album defined by its singles, Illumination works best when Plant and Co. reach their full pop stride. Holidays is a stadium-sized anthem destined to soundtrack the coming summer. It’s Melbourne (via Stardust circa ‘98) and despite its unmistakable throwback qualities, it still sounds more than relevant.

The highlights found on Illumination are often the tracks co-written by Texan chill-wave maverick Alan Palomo (aka. Neon Indian). This isn’t to say that the successes of Illumination are dependant on outsourced talent (see I Look To You for proof this isn’t the case), simply that this collaboration was a perfect creative match. Both Echoplex and Ultraviolet are the right side of revivalist electro-pop, something that so few people seem to master (however, not for lack of number of hacks trying).

Despite the littering of fun (and largely memorable) songs, too many of the tracks on Illumination bleed into each other, so much so that even with repeated listens they remain largely indistinguishable. The lengthy gestation period from which Illumination came has also had detrimental effects on Plant and Co’s ability to cull; Imagination and Moon Theory should never have made the cut.

Instrumental track Illuminated is a failed attempt at retro ‘80s arcade-game electronica. Adding nothing unique to a largely dead sound, the track comes off as pastiche. Its primary goal is to create an interlude between Soft Light and album closer Ultraviolet (both great tracks), where a thirty second outro would have been more than sufficient.

Illumination is far from perfect. However, the tracks that work (and there are many) are fun enough to forgive the handful of forgettable fillers. There is plenty to celebrate and since this album isn‘t going anywhere any time soon, we’d better get used to it!