When Vitalic returned a couple of years back with a louder and tarted up version of his debut, it was so good to have him about again that the music press overlooked it. This time I doubt he'll be so lucky.
For whilst Rave Age isn't as bad a set of tunes as the title would have you believe, it is undoubtedly more of the same yet less of a coherent album.
Much like other dance producers turned artists before him, the natural evolution of the once sample-based tracks has morphed into full blown songs. In doing so they occupy an awkward middle ground; not as intriguingly abstract as before, not well-crafted enough to trouble those who do this brilliantly. 'Rave Kids Go' is musically a perfect opener but the vocals feel awkwardly indie whilst 'Fade Away' is largely forgettable. 'Under Your Sun', on the other hand, works brilliantly and becomes haunting after a few listens but seems totally out of keeping with what sits around it.
Elsewhere it sadly feels like we've heard much of this before. 'Nexus' pushes the downbeat interludes template he has used before to a point where it sounds like an ode to Jean Michel-Jarre. 'La Mort Sur la Dance Floor' is essentially 'La Rock' with overlaid vocals and it feels like 'Lucky Star' has been on every LP of his to date.
The more deafening and incendiary tracks that fit the album title save the day somewhat; 'No More Sleep' and 'Next I'm Ready' both manage to gel and mine areas that are a heightened evolution of his trademark sound. The intriguing and more organic feel of 'The March of Skabah' hints at where he could go next too; worldly and uniquely original.
Vitalic's skill of knowing exactly when to drop in an almighty bassline or effect means that he remains adept at achieving a state of euphoria in four minutes. And whilst almost any track here - taken in isolation - would make a dancefloor go nuts, you fear album three is the natural conclusion of this stage of his career begging the question, where does he go next?
6Sean Thomas's Score