and so the final third of the debut two armadillos album, golden age thinking, is here. it’s been a memorable trip so far, with smooth, soulful and classy deep house grooves making up parts one and two (read my reviews on each at ra here and here) where martin dawson and giles smith puff out their chests somewhat on part 3, delving into more upright techno territory. as with parts one and two, the hooks, melodies, vocals all seem more refined than your average, sticking in your mind and pulling at your heart strings in equal measure.
‘phantom’ kicks things off with a punctured kick drum and a grubby, reverbing-deep-in-the-mix synth line before the mood is gently lightened with the arrival of some smeared melodic clouds. building slowly with great restraint, there’s a growing tension from which you beg to be released but never are: instead you’re locked in motion, unsure whether things will implode to darkness or explode into euphoria.
‘detroit dancer’ is more out-there and the bell sounding melody patterns that open it sound like something frenetic minimalist robert hood might lay down in one of his calmer moments. shakers and snappy hits add clutter and clatter before all that is washed away with some dynamic synth waves. it builds again, with yet more melodies interjecting the drums and bells, elevating you to a higher more energetic plane before being cushioned back to earth by the final track. ‘majestic’ is said down beat flip, and is true to its name: feathery snares and finger clicks coalesce with bluesy bass notes (that sound played on an actual guitar) as end of the night, bleary eyed piano melodies bleed slowly into the mix. if you don’t feel this – and in fact the three eps in their entirety – you’re dead inside.