Various – America 2

America 2 is a compilation from Parisian fashion and music label Kitsune showcasing what it believes to be the hottest rising talent from America.

Cutting edge production ties together the whole album. The opener Loft So High from LA-based Ghost bathes in a deep and dreamy sound. It’s thanks to the sensational, other-worldly production that I equate this track with Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange.

Cover America 3

On track two it’s the modern, minimalist hip-hop of New York’s TiDUS whose Say It bubbles away menacingly beneath breathy, quivering beats.

The stand-out track of the collection and perhaps the whole year, is Say That by Toro Y Moi. It instantly captures you with an intimate lyrical declaration over a dubby pop soundscape.

It’s cushioned either side by Theophilus London and Chrome Sparks, who continue to serve up the smoothest of production. In the case of Chrome Sparks it’s a spinning, slo-mo instrumental dedicated to marijuana. Theophilus London meanwhile offers a luscious, soulful sound and an ode to Morning Kisses.

So far, this poolside pop could be the soundtrack to the most perfect summer vacation. And by this stage the sun appears to be setting in time for Kent Odessa Bo’s 1980s grooves and Alison Valentine’s Hawaiian beats and harmonic calls.

By the time of Gigamesh’s GOTF the sun has set and it’s time for the dancefloor (to the command “get on the floor if you’ve got that booty”) and you’re carried through the night by the big beats of Malandro and Jim-E Stack.

Malandro’s tribal drums and distant howls, known as tech-house, turn the night heady for a spell. But things turn out alright with Jim-E Stacks bringing back the funk.

From here the sun rises again on a new morning. Papa’s Put Me To Work is like a twenty-first century Bruce Springsteen with a powerhouse riff and charged outro. Caves have the voice and stoned blues of the Black Keys. “I care for you” cries the wrought singer before a caustic guitar break returns the spacey feel. And so adjourns a two-song indie section.

The album itself closes with a remix for Heartsrevolution in which sexually-charged lyrics meet faint and sultry music. Then, somewhat symbolically, Jhamell x DWNTWN X giraffage see things out having met at the first AMERICA release party last year. They do so aptly with another boy/girl collaboration and more spacious, modern beats.

Though not too much here may remain on playlists indefinitely, the collection does well in representing the sound of now. In 2013 that sound is typified by melodies that plummet into a warm ocean of sound or launch to stratospheric heights and lyrical themes that describe modern love and intimacy.

6/10

by Matthew Nicholson

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