Ice Glitter Gold (2/23/18)
A polished and atmospheric examination of missed connections and altered states, where the thrum of 21st century psychedelia meets European dance floor chic, Dana Buoy’s Ice Glitter Gold, is equal parts lusty and lysergic. Helmed by songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dana Janssen (Akron/Family) with long-time collaborator Justin Miller, Dana Buoy deliver a sweaty, late-night pop record with analogue 4 on the floor heartbeats throbbing at the center.
The album opens with the euphoric primal thump of “Twisted Sky,” where thick bass entwines with bombastic drums alongside melodic, brightly layered vocals. The title track “Ice Glitter Gold” is a slinky after hours come-on, the sexy momentum grooves its way through louche and ephemeral moments transpiring in the dwindling night. Sprawling come downs like “Colors Out” rat-a-tat-tat with trappy triplet and doublet hi-hats, awash in gated reverb and guitar-heavy, blissed out psychic release. All the while still letting you down gently as in the minor key jet stream of “Let Go Awhile.”
Written from the cold comfort of the Oregon coast, the blank canvas of the dark Pacific Ocean served as inspiration for a chilly and concise blend of French Touch inflected West Coast crunch, bolstered by moonlit variations on the tropicore pop heard on previous releases Summer Bodies and Preacher. The album was recorded in Portland and New York, with production by Janssen, John Morgan Askew and Abe Seiferth at Flora Recording & Playback, Scenic Burrows, and Transmitter Park Studios.
Janssen and Miller’s digital/analog interplay creates its own language of crisp electronics and guitars, writhing together to create languid dance grooves that switch easily between moments of exuberant, open heartedness (“Too Early”), vulnerability (“Only One”) and woozy, hallucinatory introspection (“Let Go Awhile”).
With eight songs, Dana Buoy leaves behind a neon lit, self-aware paper trail, following the heartbreak, disconnection and happiness of a modern man. Moogs, Dreadbox synths, chiming guitars and the taut groove carry a guarded, of the moment (but weirdly-not-cynical) series of elegantly conceived tales: love lost, never gained or just poorly timed. Satisfaction always seems to be just out of reach, but all of these experiences become revelatory rather than crushing; somehow eking out a profound positivity that only leads further down the path of enlightenment by the time the party’s over. Love missed. Self-discovery achieved. Repeat.
Ice Glitter Gold excels in constructing whole-hearted experiments in melody that are fully fleshed out but don’t meander. A handful of years removed from his work in the cantankerous, tribal, and willfully winding Akron/Family, Janssen’s Dana Buoy has evolved into a complex but focused and lean exercise that explores the boundaries of sophisticated, danceable pop music that can be found within the strictures of a modern two man operation.