The drums on Freedom 2K, the title song from LA Vampires’ new EP with Octo Octa, don’t hit straight away. When they do, you know it. A soft, steady rumble, a kick drum you’ve heard a thousand times before. Till nearly a minute in, the chords stretch out in front of you softly, then, that beat, each time old, each time new. The slow build, then the rush … “The rhythm … The freedom … The ecstasy” …
Freedom 2K is a house song, and the best I’ve heard in an age. Back to the source, these are the second summer of love’s drug rushes, unremembered and redrafted. LA Vampires is Amanda Brown, the musician and label head behind 100% Silk and Not Not Fun, and every release is a collaboration with another musician. Previous applicants have included Zola Jesus, Matrix Metals and Maria Minerva. Each project is a love letter to, or a cannibalisation of, music’s past, depending on who you ask. It’s more than musical fancy dress – though it is fanciful, and dressy. It’s the gleeful re-imagining of a moment that never was, whether making cold wave in a place as hot as LA, or balaerica by people who’ve never had a bad pill.
Sometimes this can come off like sardonicism with a suntan; and sometimes it can sound as romantic and fantastical as Freedom 2K. It embraces transience and trend and the deep beauty of the cosmetic, and you don’t care, because the beat is right and even though the tongue is in cheek, the heart is in the right place. and this track, so self-consciously recreating the almost-there world of a pop-rave classic from when people believed in things and before the grownups ruined house. Rush unconstrained and forget pushing on – this is a song about drugs, love and music, and its power is in its luxurious depth. One drug, one people, one drum, and we’re gonna dance to it now and forget about trying for tomorrow.
The past is another country, in that you don’t want to stay there. But sometimes it’s nice to visit, and people look sexy there. The drums don’t hit straight away. When they do, you know it.