Last year Flume’s self-titled album beat One Direction for the number one spot in his home country of Australia. An impressive feat for a man whose musical inspiration was first piqued by a CD that he got free with a box of cereal. It’s plain to see why Harley Stretten’s sounds proved so popular in Oz; the chilled down melodies are perfect sunshine listening. Now being released in Ireland, the young Sydney man from Manly presents us sun-deprived Paddies with an idiosyncratic style built on off-kilter beats and soulful vocal samplings.
The 15 track offering may have been a tad ambitious, considering the attention span of most modern dance music aficionados lasts about as long as it takes to squeal the word ‘Skrillex’. Despite its considerable length though, Flume does manage to sustain a theme, with a melancholic trippy feel throughout. The opening track ‘Sintra’ is evidence of such, while ‘On Top’ presents a brilliantly fresh take on the hip-hop laced dance-floor anthem number which has become so all-pervasive.
Despite the odd gem, Flume does run out of both ideas and steam pretty quickly. Although no-one expects lyricism or vocals to define Stretten’s work, the repetitive use of short sample cuttings becomes head-ache inducing on tracks like ‘Ezra’ and the ironically christened ‘Stay Close’. As a piece of work though, Flume must be commended, because it’s definitely better than One Direction, which isn’t actually that much of a complement.
In a Nutshell: Easy to listen to, but easy to forget what you are listening to. Ultimately a lightweight sonic offering.
By Stephen Bance