There’s nothing I love more than an artist with range + Gus Gus is definitely in that category. To hear just one sound + one voice, tends to grow weary on the listener no matter if you’re looking back or looking forward, and their ‘Mexico’ album is just that, especially with twenty years of an evolved repertoire that initially started with electronic music + has since become so much more. A press release describes this album as being infused ‘with the same luster as their earlier work, but… with the snappiness + intricate production values needed for contemporary debauchery,’ + adding how it draws influence from ’80s synth pop, UK garage + ’90s trance, +, in keeping with the vocal-heavy direction of recent records, the title track is the only instrumental on the whole LP.
Gus Gus, the Icelandic foursome made up of Birgir Thorarinsson, Daníel Ágúst, Högni Egilsson + rotating members Urdu Hakkonardottir + Magnus Gudmundson, renown for their artsy techno confections, address the lyrical themes of lost love, obsession, sex + greed with no apology especially with opener ‘Obnoxiously Sexual’ saying ‘When you woke up, you didn’t know that I would steal you from your girlfriend’.
Yet words alone don’t tell the whole story here, with an obnoxious sound commanding attention from the start, to then be slightly muffled by an array of strings in the middle of the song, as to suggest the sexual activity going on inside the car. ‘Another Life’ + ‘This Is Not The First Time’ have more of a dance beat considering the theme of lost love while ‘God Application’ has neo-soul appeal. In ‘Airwaves’, the synth beat sounds like a heart being broken. In ‘Sustain’, turmoil + personal gain are at play here. With ‘Crossfade’, the beats + vocals do just that during the hook of ‘Do you remember the day (I remember), When we started to crossfade (when we started to crossfade).
Then with ‘This Is What You Get When You Mess With Love’, the overwhelming ironic tone is sarcastically caring yet bitchy, talking about the pitfalls of love laced with a pretty sound. ‘Mexico’ is the only instrumental number on here that sums up all the feelings throughout the album in a mix of synth sounds + keyboard riffs which sounds like someone just walking around armed with so many lessons learned from the words sung before + after.
I can’t wait to see what Gus Gus will do to celebrate their 20-year anniversary, as they’re always full of surprises!