By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Given local electro-pop trio Estate's penchant for popping up in the background of television programs (they've been bumped on Gossip Girl—OMG!), sound-tracking iPhone games (Ascraeus), and transforming their concerts into music video screening/live performance hybrids, it's a bit odd assessing their latest work solely on the basis of sound. That being said, the 30-minute dance party unleashed on the six-track Nuclear City EP packs enough booty-shaking melodicism that any accompanying visuals would just be icing on the cake.
The proceedings kick off in full-on '80s mode with the title track, which nicely establishes the Estate sonic template for the rest of the EP: lightly vocodered lead vocals with mechanized harmonies stacked to the heavens, paired with piles of pillowy synthesizers and set atop active robotic rhythms. Neither pure club-kid dance act nor synth-pop band, Estate effectively straddles both worlds. Depending on their mood, the trio can shift from Hall & Oates-inspired synthetic soul with muscular organic bass lines ("One Time Lover"), to entirely android hypno-funketeers ("Dancing Time").
The group's true sweet spot lies right in the middle, as evidenced by the album's closing track, a Gigamesh remix of "Write to Make." The insidiously catchy tune makes Estate sound like the earworm love-child of Daft Punk and Phoenix (i.e., unbelievably cool—and French). While often guilty of the usual dance-pop sin of paint-by-numbers lyricism ("We've got to move, we've got to dance and shout"), Estate's inch-deep insight can easily be forgiven. Anyone paying attention to the words rather than bobbing to the beat should probably be checked for a pulse.
ESTATE play an EP-release show with Mystery Palace, Dada Trash Collage, and DJ Sweet Talk on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, at the 7th Street Entry; 612.332.1775