Looks like Russia being stuck in the 80’s has finally paid off. Introducing Tropical the new album from Pompeya. Saturday Night Fever meets Mogli. Jungle fever meets glam. The songs vary as does the mood, but the album does possess a comfortable and mellow feel, perfect for vibing.
The music is a juxtaposition of funk, indie, and disco, and at times reminiscent of ’70s African Jazz legend Fela Kuti’s style. “Wait” is a great throwback to the disco era via breathy ABBA-like backup vocals. “Power” is an instant anthem, empowering as the name suggests. It’s a celebration of the individual, a modern reconnection with the old school funk, and ultra smooth and sexy. When the lead singer croons, “there’s nothing you can give them, but the power in your eyes.” It’s hard to disagree.
The band juxtaposes nature and technology, by using charming rhythm and synthesizing it into a sound that seems to mimic a tropical jungle habitat. This is highlighted in the instrumental break of the track. The electronic music mimics sounds of insects, birds and wild animals. The product is majestic. The track also samples parts of Kaoma’s 80’s hit “Lambada,” mixed with hints jazz and touches of reggae.
Other tracks have more of a psychedelic/indie feel. Like “90,” the chill-mode encounter with solitude that draws you from the jungle back to a lonely bedroom or a deserted avenue.
Despite being a cohesive whole, the album is a combination of unique and beautiful pieces. There’s “Slaver,” another up-beat, sexy, and smooth tune. The dreamy keyboard on “Cheenese” sounds like a lullaby, almost reminiscent of The Cure. And of course there’s a track that’s the ebb — “Nobody’s Truth” is about the unpleasant side of relationships.
It’s a satisfying CD, which feels like a soundtrack for dusk. Some of the rhythms sound like footsteps, a train in the distance, or the contrast between bright lights and a pale sky at twilight.
Pompeya is a strong addition to a genre pioneered by the likes of Daft Punk and Chromeo. Yet, Tropical has also established Pompeya as their own force. This album is an inspiration to bring back the disco ball, a declaration that funk is alive and well, and an implication on the future of electronic music.
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