Review Summary: Shpongle have a full-on love affair with electronics, and I'm not complaining one bit.
Psychedelic duo Shpongle have an admirable number of releases under their belt, but what they’re most recognized for is onstage insanity. There’s something ineffable about their music, something enigmatic that makes for a fantastic live show, and when considering the measures taken (flashing lights, belly dancers, gargantuan sets, etc.) by Shpongle, they appear as if they were meant to be performers. And while their virtuosic grasp of the art of visual entertainment says wonders about their dedication to their music, it also can reflect a bit negatively on their albums. Let’s face it - getting Shpongled is more difficult in less euphoric circumstances. I’ve only encountered a few specific instances, for example, where Ineffable Mysteries from Shpongleland hasn’t felt incredibly out of place in the context of my daily life. Of course, this isn't a fault on Shpongle’s behalf, when considering their emphasis on world music. However, it’s incredibly fitting that with their latest release titled The God Particle
the duo focus on ubiquitous dance beats accompanied by a pervading atmosphere and brooding bass. After all, these common characteristics of dance music have been omnipresent in their heritage but never fleshed out this extensively.
Electronics are very important on The God Particle
, and the lack of organic instruments is foreign terrain for Shpongle. Instead of world vocal samples or flute melodies, the focal point of the music now is the basslines, an interesting commentary on the duo taking what they like from the modern dance scene. However, the music present is still strictly the ambient yet jarring style we've grown to expect from Shpongle. Although the timbre has been altered a few notches, we still have the same danceable tracks we've always had, and this is why a group of such caliber only continues to flourish under the neon glow of raves and and clubs from year to year.
Honestly, the only major fault of The God Particle
is its pacing. the songs either flounder from too much time dwelling on the same ideas, or they shift dramatically when a good idea is just cranking up and the rug's pulled out from under its feet. But perhaps it's a little much to expect the group to follow up their last full-length properly, not to mention that The God Particle
is indicative of a new group. Shpongle's willing to tinker with their sound just enough to keep the long-term fans happy whilst enticing new listeners. It's high time to get Shpongled again, friends, and I've got an extra ticket.