What do The Lion King, Charlie’s Angels and The L Word have in common? Very little, except for having been targeted by Hollywood’s insatiable appetite for reboots. Perhaps because global warming is so terrifying that we want escape into comforting memories of the past, most modern media seems to comprise revisitations of former hits.
Yet is this nostalgia ever a positive thing in creative terms? This is a question that recurs again and again when confronted with Blue Hawaii’s latest effort; fourth album Open Reduction Internal Fixation. Drawing upon the club hits of the early ‘oughts – particularly tracks working within genres such as trance and garage — the album’s textures promise to transport the listener to simpler, sweatier times in Ibiza. Songs such as ‘Can We Go Back’ foreground the nostalgia theme, using the lovers’ laments familiar from house to transmute the pain of heartbreak into dance-floor ecstasy.
It’s joined by ‘All the Things’ and ‘Still I Miss U’ as the album’s most successful tracks, harnessing some of the sentimentality associated with trance to deliver a necessary emotional punch. However, this sense of a greater depth or quality of feeling is sorely missed on the likes of ‘All That Blue’ or ‘On A High’, which, without the catharsis that is so central to the club experience, feel somewhat lifeless and repetitive.
Whilst a contemporary perspective can sometimes provide new insight to old favourites, ORIF shows that needing to “go back to go forward” is a myth.