Album Review
by SaschaS

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The Juan Maclean: 'Less Than Human'
The Juan Maclean: 'Less Than Human'
The Juan Maclean: diverse and catchy electro-funk…

The Juan Maclean single pick 'Tito's Way' [released on 20 June] failed to capture the nation’s interest despite being a slice of funk wrapped up in variety of electronic and metallistic layers of noise. If there is any justice 'Less Than Human' album should correct the situation.

Former Six Finger Satellite electronic pioneer Juan Maclean previously released a series of five critically acclaimed and highly sought-after vinyl only singles on DFA: 'By The Time I Get To Venus', 'You Cant Have It Both Ways', 'Give Me Every Little Thing' (split single with the Rapture), the 'Der Half-Machine EP '10" and the recent 'Dance With Me' strung out one-sider with his contributions being among the standout tracks on ‘DFA Compilations 1’ & ‘2’. The Juan Maclean has also contributed notable remixes of Air, Spectrum, Ralph Myerz & Chromeo songs amongst others with a couple more exciting ones in the offing.

"It's been a bit of a sore spot," laughs Juan Maclean, "sitting on this album and seeing this robot stuff pop up all over the place. I have serious robot credentials that go back years and years. Like, a decade! But Daft Punk beat me to the punch." He may be jesting but the man's right: if anyone's earned the right to call their debut album 'Less Than Human' and imagine a love triangle consisting of a man, a woman and the man's gay robot friend (as in 'Shining Skinned Friend'), it's Maclean.

That is also the most Krautrock moment on the album where there is a plethora of surprises, strange and delightful noises whilst keeping it in the domain of the funky-rocky-poppy realm. It may not be as instantaneous and in-your-face as LCD Soundsystem, or less leftfield than !!!, it is more subtle, more laid-back, alternating between chill-out moments and commanding your arse outta recliner. Fusionistic, freakish, futuristic, nu-clear grooves!

‘Give Me Every Little Thing’ is so beat-heavy you can’t remain motionless, there are instances of distant oriental [Japanese mainly] echoes in tunes, there is also sense of space-disco on ‘Crush The Liberation’ and a curious mixture of ambient, dreamy, hypno-delic and ‘cold-wave’ on the concluding ‘Dance With Me’ that takes 14-plus minutes to complete its epic journey.

The Juan Maclean have just completed their debut UK tour with labelmates LCD Soundsystem and are due for a return to the UK and Europe later this summer. Worth every minute, disc-wise or onstage!


The Juan Maclean’s album ‘Less Than Human’ is released 04 July 2005 by DFA/EMI