The Los Angeles trio Music Go Music began humbly, recording songs in their spare time and playing them for friends. A few songs posted online caught the ears of a surprising number of strangers, who implored the band to make a go of it. They eventually, and reluctantly, agreed to this, and before long the show had been officially taken on the road; MGM was being "buzzed" about, flying back and forth across the the Atlantic, touring around with Glasgow rockers Franz Ferdinand, and performing for the most discerning of music lovers in Moscow, London, LA, and points in between. Their debut album "Expressions" was a warmly received dance-pop-prog excursion that drew apt comparisons to Abba, Kate Bush, Bonnie Tyler, and Giorgio Moroder. After things settled down and they got back to their workaday lives, they began chipping away at a new record. In the course of several years, one or two songs at a time, 'Impressions' took shape.
By now, the world has swayed in ways that seemed unlikely back at the band's dawning. When their first EPs began coming out in 2007, MGM was an anomaly; a real band capable of crafting a steady stream of hook-dense A-sides, who played honest-to-goodness live dance music. This time around, of course, they're sending a record out into a world that has turned just enough to embrace the kind of analog disco that MGM has been making for years.
While remaining unambiguously pop, "Impressions" sees the group's aural sheen and careworn elegance joined to deeper grooves and oblique sonic turns. Never before, though, has an unhinged recounting of love won and lost been so blatantly entertaining. It's an assured, kinetic journey through light and dark, calm and chaos, with nothing less than pop transcendence waiting on the other side.
"... [it] plays like the greatest hits of dance saviors that never existed... and indeed, they probably should only be performed from inside an aqua-dome at the bottom of the Caspian Sea, or at least during a summer-long residency in Ibiza." - Fader
"One thing is for sure: the ambition for a long-lasting dynasty of overblown, slightly crackpot pop excess is there. " - Stool Pigeon
"Superhero pop music that will soundtrack all of your weddings" - NME
"When people talk about the rebirth of disco, this is how it should be, manic zombifications reanimated from the Abba songbook, wired with Philip K Dick paranoia and Donna Summer euphoria," says the NME on Music Go Music's debut full-length Expressions. The Los Angeles trio recorded the album over the course of a year-and-a-half. They make pop music but, fortunately, the term means very little these days. What kind of pop music is it? Rock and Roll, Disco, Metal, Boogie, Trans-Hand, Psychedelic? Fader magazine perhaps put it best when they said, "They begin with a bright-eyed Scandinavian sashay and end with a ten-minute Mediterranean disco romp featuring programmed drums, making detours along the way into rainy day ballads and guitar infernos. The cumulative effect plays like the greatest hits of dance saviors that never existed?and indeed, they probably should only be performed from inside an aquadome at the bottom of the Caspian Sea, or at least during a summer-long residency in Ibiza." Indeed.
'Warm in the Shadows' rounds out the trio of three-song 12"s that Music Go Music have released over the course of 2008. It's both a fitting end-piece to the trilogy, and a remarkable expansion of the group's sonic and emotional breadth. There is a casual, but undeniable magic to these songs, and it flows around and out of each note of every melody.
Title song 'Warm in the Shadows' is dance music, as envisioned by a group with a greater allegiance to pop archetypes than to the hymns of the dance-floor. Its a step in a different direction; an invitation to shake coupled with a gentle evocation of the pain of wrecked love ("what kind of heart would break so easy as my own"). It's a case history and a cure for both the lovesick and the lovesick-to-be.
The B-side offers up stories of exotic depravity consuming itself in ways both savage and deceptively elegant. The gypsy rhythms of 'Thousand Crazy Nights' undergird a tale of dog-piled revelers instructed to "feel with your face, let eyes be your hands" whilst "trapped in desire's agro dance." 'Love, Violent Love' is a psychedelic voyage through a land of raving mobs who "spiral past control" once their love is at last requited.
This collection of songs is further proof of the power of the transformative embrace in which Music Go Music holds what is dear to them, and the singular vision that they impart to it.
Like a bolt from Zeus, Music Go Music have struck again with their new 12” single, ‘Reach Out.’ This outing finds them exploring a darker side of pop music; the place where Deep Purple’s brute force meets the Carpenter’s tragic wistfulness, where Blondie’s power-hooks cross melodic swords with Meat Loaf’s drama-rock theatrics. They’ve expanded their palette considerably, yet the sound is unmistakably theirs, and the magic of it points the way to the light at the end of the tunnel. ‘Reach Out’ is the monologue of a would-be savior, offering to lift us from the pit of despair. It treks from Logan’s Run ambience to proto-metal riffing to disco-gallop to TV detective funk and back again.
Music Go Music have the simple syrup of pop extravagance running through their veins. These arena-sized songs are composed with such savage efficiency that you find yourself humming along before two bars have gone by. They are as assured and crafted as ABBA and ELO's best songs of '76, yet Music Go Music sounds fresh. They've exploded the formulas from the inside out, sounding like a hundred others and no one else. 'Light of Love' is a true celebration of pop music's potential - laying a thin sheen of magic over the world around it, and making the tedious bits of the human experience a little less so. 'Light of Love' plays like the first three tracks of a future Greatest Hits album. "Speak to me, darling in hushed tones. Tell me your heart's true desire" sings Gala Bell on the title track, equal parts Debbie Harry, Karen Carpenter, and Kate Bush. Maybe it's the wonderfully layered vocals, maybe the rich synth textures, maybe their impossibly uplifting nature, but there is something immediately familiar about these songs. At first listen, we're inexorably drawn into their sphere. For at least a moment, we are surrounded by the halo of their refracted energy - we can bask in the light of love.