Review Summary: Despite the man's affinity for cheese, there's none to be found here.
I'm sure that there are a lot of music enthusiasts out there who see “electronic” music as nothing more than an annoyance, a blip on the radar of the music scene that should be ignored; people who concede that plunging into it's depths and origins is a journey not worth taking. What i'm also sure of, is that for every person that lives by that creed is a person who take great pride and pleasure in exploring and enjoying everything that it's flag bearers have to offer. Whether it be Trance, House or just straight Techno, these people relish anything new put forth by the progenitors of the genre. Evoking a musical wonderland of delight, these artists seek to tempt and lure us into their clutches, burrow their way into our sub consciousness, and then refuse to leave. And we, obedient as we are, take the bait. One mouse seeking to put his own stamp on the nightclubs of the world is Joel Zimmerman, more well known by his stage name of Deadmau5 .In the space of just a couple of years Mr Mau5 has released 4 studio albums, 2 compilation albums, appeared on popular radio show “A State of Trance” and shown up on the “In Search of Sunrise” compilations, a series of albums by DJ Tiesto. Not content with following the “guidelines” of the Progressive House genre, Joel seems much more content with quickly glancing at the rulebook, and then ripping it up. The man prides himself on keeping clear from some of the more common names in the business, as if the giant mouse head he wears while performing didn't already do that.
“For Lack of a Better Name” might suggest that Deadmau5 is a little lacking in the creative department, that however is not the case here. One thing that needs to be said now is this: the man likes to surprise. No two of his albums sound exactly the same. Obviously certain elements permeate over all of his creations, but just like a maze for mice there's enough twists and turns to ensure that every album takes you somewhere new. Equaling the talent and quality heard on “Random Album Title”, this album seeks to break new ground in the world of Deadmau5; while he continues to pay homage to old school techno, a new desire to experiment with more minamalistic European influenced house becomes apparent in the second half of the album, as well as his willingness to tease out some piano interludes in amongst all the chaotic beauty. The album is a continous mix, filled with glistening synth lines and throbbing, hypnotic basslines that constantly swell and surge, addictively caught in your head days after listening. In fact first single “Ghosts 'n' Stuff”, featuring Rob Swire (who for some strange reason sounds more rejuvinated and energised than on the last Pendulum release) is the epitome of this, and is perfectly set to break nightclub speakers and become the soundtrack for Saturday nights.
Tracks “Moar Ghosts 'n' Stuff” (the intro that sets the stage for the single), and “Hi, Friend” continue in a similair fashion. Showing off his knack for amazing beats and tasteful production, the songs are the epitome of ear candy, with the latter of the two doing the rounds on the Ministry of Sound circuit as of late. While these tracks are typical of all things Deadmau5, the rest on offer here provide the real evidence of Joel's embracement of outside influences. Track five, "Bot," features a grungy synthline that literally permeates throughout the whole track, paving the way for the album's groovier, more melodic second half. The tracks "Word Problems," "Soma," and "The 16th Hour" showcase Deadmau5's new style, a deeper, more mysterious brand of house music constructed primarily of low rumbling bass lines, and again displays his interests in playing around with more minamilist aspects. The closing track "Strobe" is an experience in itself that builds into an epic club anthem, the perfect song to end on as you exit the club to see the first rays of morning breaking over the skyline.
“For Lack of a Better Name” is an amazing album, filled to the brim with outstanding tracks that while diverse still manage to blend seamlessly into one massive and ambitious mix. This isn't Deadmau5 showing why he should be considered relevant in the world of Progressive House, this is Zimmerman carving himself his own niche in the genre. This is an album that will not fail to deliver, and from the moment that the live drum percussion kicks in, signalling the beginning of it all, this album will lift you up, throw you around the neon drenched room and then cradle you in it's arms as you drift back down to solid terra firma. This is a mouse who does not approve of cheese in the slightest.