It's hard to know when, or whether, the Australian one-man dance act known as Muscles is being serious. Live, ensconced behind a tower of keyboards and contraptions, he'll yell to his hipster crowd, "This is my trance song! Do you all like trance?!" Before anyone can respond, he'll launch into a lo-fi version of trippy synth runs, churned by a propulsive, primitive drumbeat and punk-ified with his husky, accented yell-singing. And people will go bananas, wetting all over the floor with awkwardly animal dance lust and without the usual irony armor. Guns Babes Lemonade is the Melbourne-based artist's first release for the can't-fail Modular label, capturing 11 slices of idiosyncratic, keyboard-driven party jams. Each one hits fast, producing the light-headed giddiness you get from a canister of nitrous, and is bolstered by simple, relentlessly happy, chant-along refrains. On "Ice Cream," the track making the club rounds, a ton of vocal tracks — a chorus of Muscles — praises the redeeming power of his favorite summer treat while straight-up, old-school rave loops bubble up underneath. On "Sweaty," over chirping echoes, he hollers, "My hand slipped into your hand! And it was awesome! And it was special!" The disc's final track, built on a circling, climbing, addictive-as-crack bass line, simply recounts a lovely female admitting, "Hey, Muscles/I love you/I wanna have your babies!" By the end of this weirdly compelling, eminently danceable album, you may feel the same.
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