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Album Review: Art Department – Natural Selection

3 min read

Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White were both making waves in the dance scene as solo artists way before they became a duo. It wasn’t until 2009 when the pair got together to remix a track for Damian Lazarus that they discovered this fresh new sound which ultimately lead to the birth of Art Department (Thank God!). Two years later the pair released their debut album The Drawing Board, an impressive LP which received rave reviews, the duo were complimented on their simple approach yet dazzling effect. Fast forward three years and the synth masters are back with a brand new album titled Natural Selection. This time round the Canadian producers have opted for a more mature sound compared to their last album and I can tell you it definitely pays off.

Natural Selection - Art DepartmentAccording to a recent interview with Billboard White explains that Natural Selection is “more about what you can fit in the space you have to work with, rather than what you can fit within a four to the floor box”, and this is evident in the albums dark and mysterious intro. It’s Through is the first official track of the album and it’s the type of beat you can imagine being played at 4am in some underground club where the true party animals are still going hard. It has an 80’s vibe to it that sounds like a techno version of the opening theme to Knight Rider, a dark and progressive pirece of brilliance. The Agent begins with a trippy monologue that practically runs throughout the whole track and becomes more confusing the more you try to understand what is being said. This combines with the tracks psychedelic sounds and neat drum beat to create a somewhat mesmerizing experience that can be felt not just in this track but pretty much throughout the whole album.

It’s hard to pick a highlight from the album however; Kisses for Rosses featuring Aquarius Heaven is definitely a stand out. The tracks raw and grungy synths instantly have you bopping your head whilst Heaven’s smooth vocals will have you singing along by the time the second chorus comes along. The psychedelic vibes continue with These Eyes, an orgy of sounds that gel together with Glasgow’s soothing vocals to create a robot-esque feel.

The Hunt and Crazy are the two longest tracks on the album and I don’t want to say they are boring because they’re not however; they are less captivating than the rest of the album. Cruel Intentions is the first release from the album and features frequent collaborator Seth Troxler. Troxler’s creepy vocals add to the trippy techno sounds to construct an underground masterpiece. The album features a few interludes throughout although none are quite as cool as MACBA. The majestic sounds of people skateboarding with faint guitar string in the background is something not to be skipped. The album finishes with Catch you by Surprise, a placid ending to an incredible project.

Natural Selection is an album that should be listened to from start to finish and if I can give you one piece of advice it is to listen to this album in your room with the lights off and your eyes shut, I guarantee you it will feel like you’re in another universe. It will be an experience you will never forget, trust me!