Stevie Nicks Hearts
EP (2008, Oaks Records)
Related: The E.L.F..
Gerling’s Darren Cross is a happy dreamer stuck in a dazed disco trip. His debut solo EP, “Stevie Nicks Hearts” features no guitars, so you won’t find ‘The Deer In You Pt. 2’ here. What you will discover is the new kraut – an effectively psychedelic blend of disco drive, rude breaks and sparkly drone. You could drop these pretty numbers in your zoned-out electro set or you could slip them onto a blippy exercise mix. Either way, completely unmoshable.
The title track features damp piano, spiraling synths and monotone acid bass which suggest elongated highways linking our super-productive East Coast, bloodshot skies, shufflers, stompers, rave babes and changing tastes. Countdown, Recovery, Y2K, 2012. Our lives flash before our eyes yet Cross remains focused on production and dancing like a sprightly imp! ‘Cockroaches’ is buzzing disco with a basic bassline anchored to percussive vocal snippets. Occasionally, Cross pitch-shifts his voice up a few tasty notches to make it all the more insect-like - it’s business as usual until a beautiful vocal cut-up in the last 50 seconds introduces the track’s strongest melody. “Takemeback” is like a revitalized juke joint from the early 90s, all balls-out house until the warm pads slide back into the mix and we’re in bliss-out territory again. The seductive dance pop song “Billie” sees Cross feminising his voice by dolloping on yet more luscious pitch-shift, and features satisfyingly full square-wave bass notes that jump back’n’forth across octaves in a very New Romantic fashion. Also worthy of note is The Waterslides contribution, a sputtering remix that pushes the “Billie” formula in a muscly direction by adding symphonic layers to an overblown refrain.
Cross has already proven that he can write hits – this relaxed EP isn’t so much about chart-topping as it is about crowd-rocking and honouring your dance floor with righteous progressions and sweeping textures. It’s about celebrating pop, dance and life. It’s about time.
by Adrian Trajstman