The Juan MacLean: In a Dream (DFA) Reviews | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Juan MacLean

In a Dream


Sep 17, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In a Dream is a strange beastThe Juan MacLean has been on DFA since some of the New York label’s earliest days, and yet their newest release feels almost like the sudden, indelible debut of a talented new artist. This is rooted in the fact that The Juan MacLean is now a duo, with LCD Soundsystem-alumna Nancy Whang joining John MacLean as a full-time member and in many ways his new frontwoman. Though Whang had guested on plenty of Juan MacLean tracks in the past, her more sustained presence seems to have contributed to a version of The Juan MacLean that the project perhaps always wanted to be. In a Dream is one of those albums that’s indelible enough to sound like a band’s greatest hits, and exhilarating enough to sound like you’ve discovered a brand new artist.

Every synth line, vocal melody, beat, and rubbery synth-bass across In a Dream is, as you would expect from two DFA veterans, exactingly calibrated and totally infectious. The highs here are so incredibly high. There’s the way the gorgeous synth-pop pulse of “Love Stops Here” sits comfortably amongst the longer dance tracks. There’s the way the slow-burn euphoria of “The Sun Will Never Set on Our Love” gently and carefully ends the album, and the fact that it’s preceded by “A Simple Design,” a song that comes off as the perfect closer on your first listen, before you realize it’s actually the penultimate track. In a Dream is actually book-ended by its peaks, starting with “A Place Called Space,” an eight minute and 20 second song that plays out as a pop single that simply couldn’t be cut down at allits length, its ebb and flow, are so crucial to its impact. It’s also a fitting mission statement for the record. This is music that takes your head to other times and places, that will make you feel like you’re living inside a video game, or in the stratosphere. It takes you on whichever adventure you want. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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