eaux

Writing a debut electronic album in 2014 is no mean feat: do you mine a specific chunk of dance’s back catalogue for nostalgia and cash (Disclosure et al), or, like James Holden, push restlessly forward with experimentation and risk alienation? Or, indeed, just have done with it all and stick a EDM-shaped donk on everything? Clearly not one to put all their eggs in one basket, Eaux have managed to concoct a debut electronic album out of all of the above, and accordingly ‘Plastics’, for all its virtues, feels like a record unsure of where it stands.

While there are several moments of towering beauty – opening track ‘Head’ carries a heavy-hearted poignancy redolent of Orbital at their spun-out finest, and the glacial operatics of ‘The Light Falls Through Itself’ wouldn’t taint one of Goldfrapp’s electronic LPs – it’s difficult to escape the sense of diffidence elsewhere, as Eaux try to craft a modern iteration of ambient techno and slightly fluff their lines. Indeed, even with the more direct attempt at a build-and-drop of ‘Movers & Shakers’ they can’t quite bring themselves to truly let rip. The result is an uneven listen – sporadically delicious, frequently tantalising with a largely overly tasteful hesitancy. The potential is undoubtedly there; now Eaux just need to decide where they are going.

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