Presets, The - Pacifica

Presets, The - Pacifica

You know that level of anticipation and excitement you harbour towards a band who have announced the release of new material, years after dropping a record which blew your mind? That’s what the lead up to the release of Pacifica, from Australian geniuses The Presets, was like for me.

Apocalypso (2008) was a huge part (and still is) of my musical library and rightfully established the Sydney duo as kings of the local electro-dance stream, bringing some banging sounds to commercial success. With [i]Pacifica[i], The Presets seem to have taken their time in forming a record which has taken the best of [i]Apocalypso[/i] and [i]Beams[/i] (2005), showing their younger competitors of the genre how to successfully mix delicious and penetrating drum-and-synth patterns with some equally as powerful vocals.

The album opener in 'Youth In Trouble' was the first song to be released off [i]Pacifica[/i], and I remember thinking it was a risky move to release such a track first. The almost six and a half minute song immediately points out that this is an album unlike anything The Presets have made before – they’ve pushed the boundaries and shelved what people may have been expecting. There’s no song on the album which is another 'My People' or 'Are You The One?', something which has the potential to alienate some fans, but I think that people would be silly to completely write the record off, as [i]Pacifica[/i] is quite possibly the most matured album from The Presets yet.

'Promises' and 'A.O' are two songs where Julian Hamilton absolutely shines – his talent as a vocalist has always been something I’ve admired, but his shifts in range on these particular two songs make them definite standouts. 'Promises' is probably one of the more pop-minded songs on the album that is perfect for summer and the festival season, while 'A.O' paints a much more sinister and dark-city vibe, staying true to the song’s unabbreviated title, 'Adults Only'.

[i]Pacifica[/i] came at a time for me, when I thought that Australian music was having a good year, but on a grand scale, wasn’t showing too many signs of bold steps forward. The Presets do what they do well because they aren’t afraid to take their time and furthermore, they aren’t afraid to shelve established preconceptions of what they produce and what they’re capable of producing. Four years away has changed them as musicians and indeed, as people, but as this record shows, the duo haven’t wasted the years.
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