French EDM wunderkind Madeon has been electrifying the dance circuit since he could barely see over a bar top. Already a headliner at major fests like Electric Daisy Carnival and a support act for Lady Gaga, 20-year-old Hugo Pierre Leclercq now lays down his official debut album, Adventure. And what an adventure it is, featuring Dan Smith of Bastille, Passion Pit and other electronically minded rock artists. Below, we break down each track on the standard version to get the full scope of the work.
“Isometric (Intro)” – Leclercq goes all Close Encounters on us with this aural blastoff. Its tubular melody sounds like something space aliens would use to announce that they come in peace. It turns punchy and frenetic, making it a good ringtone contender.
“You’re On (feat. Kyan)” – It’s 8-bit blippy and Coachella cool. Kyan’s buttery vocals invite listeners poolside. “You’re On” is punctuated with barely audible arcade fires and mini-explosions, a subtlety rarely found in the works of big-name DJs.
“OK” – Bleeding in from the mellow “You’re On,” “OK” kicks up the BPM and enlists pop princess Charlie XCX. Her vox are put through a digital sausage-maker, chopping them up into consumable bites without ever revealing the source of inspiration. Unfortunately, it makes the number a bit cookie-cutter.
“La Lune (feat. Dan Smith)” – Playing like a dreamier Bastille tune, that group’s Dan Smith offers his talents on this anthem. It drags a mite, a ketamine collage of dub and alternative. “Don’t you worry at all,” Smith assures, which is exactly what Adventure wants to encourage.
“Pay No Mind (feat. Passion Pit)” – Michael Angelakos has made a career out of putting his helium pipes over marching club beats, so lending his band, Passion Pit, to Madeon’s album was a no-brainer. “Pay No Mind” is a pitch-perfect youth empowerment single, wresting Chromeo-level boogying and vocoders from the underground.
“Beings” – Leclercq almost resurrects that British dance, St. Etienne sound in the beginning of “Beings,” but it soon shifts to his familiar strut. The DJ himself takes on the singing duties here, an effete accessory to the breathy neon ennui.
“Imperium” – An immediacy attacks. The “Beings” are no longer docile. This is war on the dance floor. There’s no place to hide— the rhythm is going to get you. Its spying synths evoke images of enemy invaders on the prowl. And the electronic scratching reminds one of the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic.”
“Zephyr” – Remember international pop luminaries La Bouche? Tack their vibe onto Intimacy-era Bloc Party and Daft Punk, and you’ve got “Zephyr.” It’s weird and busy, an amorphous oddity that can’t seem to find its footing.
“Nonsense” – Another master of melding blippy elements with sleek rock, Mark Foster, appears here. Yet this song seems an uneasy fit for the Foster the People front man. It’s the rapid, nearly reggae timbre required in the pre-chorus that throws him off, leaving “Nonsense” to fumble on its own grooves.
“Innocence (feat. Aquilo)” – A cool down, as though listeners died and went to EDM heaven. Synthetic harps and crystalline coos rain down, as Aquilo give a silky, Miguel-like performance. A panty and bass dropper.
“Pixel Empire” – The title suits this aural fantasy, doused with mechanical skeletons that drip into molten mercury. The aliens won the fight, and now us measly humans have been vaporized into an ether of molecules that only know how to swirl to Madeon’s beats.
“Home” – A great mix of club readiness and introspection, apparently written when Leclercq was purposely sleep deprived. It’s airy, cerebral and hopeful.
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