The Presets


Maybe they’re lacing the sheep-dip with murder powder these days, but, after all these years spent hunting out the perfect dance/rock hybrid in Shoreditch crack pantries stinking of Ali Love’s armpits, it turns out we’d have had more luck keeping our ears open while backpacking round the Australian outback. Traditionally, Australia is a place where men are men and bands are AC/DC, but of late the more cut-off Antipodeans have stumbled on the magic crossover formula: just play your big rock choons on synths instead of guitars! Cobberdelic, mate!

If, in the eyes of the average Arctic Monkeys fan, Perth’s Pendulum have built an Uluru of pure cheese by merging their drum’n’bass skronks with pissy hair metal grot, fellow Aussies The Presets have perfected the rocktronic brew with a rather more credible sleight of riff. While their debut album ‘Beams’ was busy sending the indie/house contingent into a box-making frenzy not seen since they sent all the leftover copies of the Panic At The Disco album for pulping, they set about writing songs like an android Franz Ferdinand or Interpol (if you can imagine such a thing) off their mush-holes at a Pet Shop Boys gig. ‘Apocalypso’ – not, as you might have assumed, Mel Gibson’s first house record – is the ceaselessly inventive result: they call it ‘pagan house’, we call it electrocrash.

‘Kicking And Screaming’ is a pilled-up take on Bloc Party’s ‘Banquet’, ‘My People’ thumps, chants and judders like LCD Soundsystem turned Aborigine and ‘This Boy’s In Love’ and ‘Yippiyo Ay’ sound as profoundly like Duran Duran as only a band trying to be a techno Stellastarr* can. As the album slips deeper into the techno lagoon in the latter half without ever losing grip on the tune satchel – on the Hadouken!-meets-Mew thrum’n’bass of ‘Eucalyptus’ (hoodgazing, anyone?) or the Enigma monktronica of ‘If I Know You’ – it only serves to bolster The Presets’ immaculate crossover credentials.

The great poet and philosopher Al Murray The Pub Landlord once pointed out that Australians can’t be that culturally advanced “since they’ve only done the edges”. Well, here’s a heaving slice of the future pumping straight out of the heartland.

Mark Beaumont