Available on: Universal EP

When Californian duo the Cataracs first came to mainstream prominence in 2010 as the producers of ‘Like A G6′, Far East Movement’s inescapable and ultimately irresistible ode to “gettin’ slizzered”, it was easy to write it off as a post-‘Boom Boom Pow’ one-off from all involved. But the simplicity of its slick efficiency belied the impressive way in which The Cataracs stripped down the elements of a club banger down to the bare necessities while still getting crunk. Their work on featured vocalist Dev’s own underrated solo album, The Night The Sun Came Up, last year, was a further indication that something interesting was going on: together, Dev and The Cataracs triangulated the mainstream vogue for hedonistic party-girl club pop with Latin freestyle and, improbably, the ghosts of electroclash thanks to Dev’s blankly intoned dancefloor musings. Frequently, she came across like Miss Kittin transported to a Miami superclub, or Ke$ha if she wasn’t completely unlistenable.

Gordo Taqueira, The Cataracs’ first release in their own right following ‘Like A G6’, hones this aesthetic as well as pushing it forwards, sideways and in all sorts of unexpected directions. ‘Calling Me’ combines club paranoia with a stadium-sized chorus, a strung-out break and a jack-in-the-box drop that ricochets off the walls of your own head. A pitched-up gremlin voice demands fruit as percussion shakes and rattles and switches up frantically on ‘Cantaloupe’: it’s the kind of rhythmically complex track that would fit surprisingly naturally into a post-UK funky world, and more than once on Gordo Taqueira, you could swear you were listening to the Californian Funkystepz. ‘Synthesizer’ is underpinned by a propulsive tech house riff, but is packed with a rollercoaster ride of sonic details. Stand-out and lead single ‘All You’ combines squeaky rave noises with a gorgeous chorus, floating above the club detritus in a Mandy-induced bubble into which even the unlikely figure of Waka Flocka Flame gets invited.

Each track is full-to-overflowing with ideas, but also the acres of space that marked out The Cataracs’ breakthrough hits. It’s this sense of restraint that enables their quintessentially Californian rich kid commitment to skeeziness and sleaziness of all stripes to be not just palatable, but an endearing type of (don’t-give-a-)dumbfuck hedonism – not that they lack self-awareness, with ‘Alcohol’ veering into an extended parody of vacuous #YOLO chatter. Dev’s ice queen charisma is sorely missed, given the rudimentary rapping of the boys themselves, but their voices aren’t exactly foregrounded, and end up as an integral part of their tracks’ fabric in any case. Rumour has it that Paris Hilton has her eye on them to produce her second album – and really, you could think of few better or more appropriate partnerships. It could even match her peerless debut.

Alex Macpherson



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