The Designer’s Drugs: The Dance Party – Touch

The Dance Party

Medium: Album

Stimulus: The Dance Party – Touch

Anno: 2010

When godawful-to-the-point-of-surreal lyrics can be ignored in favor of adventurous, diverse songcraft, a band is truly exceptional.  As it turns out, The Dance Party may be one of pop rock’s new secret weapons.  On Touch, the band operates between two magnetic poles: hair-metal revivalists and synth-heavy disco fiends.  No song is completely one or the other, and there are greater and lesser examples of each side of the band to be found on the album (the smug and out of place commercial pop of “Snake Eyes” is strongly lesser).  Yet should one get past lyrics that try way too hard to pass as cool, the highs are scintillating.

“Sasha Don’t Sleep” is the band at its most hair metal, with wailing vocals building the song to keyboard-ridden rockouts.  “Pretty Girls” is stripper-born sleaze with more preening audacity than it has any right to possess.  On the more electronic end are the straight-up New Wave romance of “Hush” and the electro-rushing goodness of “Carpe Diem.”  Yet the most surprising highlight of Touch is a disco tune titled “Let’s Start some Trouble” that’s straight from the early career of Michael Jackson – if you discount the bad lines about sex machines and their operators.

Unapologetically shallow yet disturbingly catchy, The Dance Party works because it’s unafraid to ignore genre lines.  The resulting album works that point to its full advantage.

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