An artist that I’ve recently started paying a lot of attention to is Australian duo The Presets. It all started with a free download of recent single Ghosts, remixed by the interminably fun Señor Coconut. Struck by how excellent the song was, I tracked down the album, followed by its predecessor Apocalypso (2008) which we’ll cover another time.
Pacifica opens with the acid burblings of Youth in Trouble. As with many of the tracks on this album it’s a little lacking in melody, but it more than makes up for it with style. The same cannot, however, be said of the second track.
Ghosts is, however you look at it, a totally brilliant song. I’ve said here a few times that somehow you often seem to be able to tell just from the first few chords that this is going to be true, and honestly this is probably a post-rationalisation, but I’d have said it again for this track too. From the very first pads in the introduction you know it’s going to be excellent, and excellent it is indeed.
Promises follows, and is another moment of brilliance, with a bit of an 80s pop sound hiding in a none-too-subtle (ha!) way beneath the surface. But the bottom ultimately falls out of the album again a little bit. Push is good, although it’s a bit more of an experiment than a song, and has a lot in common with the first track. Fall is better again, probably the second best on the album actually, but you can’t help but feel slightly that it’s sandwiched in between a horde of stylish but ultimately dull neighbours.
This is, unfortunately, the theme for the rest of the album. Moments of greatness, such as the intro to It’s Cool and the middle section of Surrender are let down, just a little, by the rather more empty tracks such as A.O. and Fail Epic. Each of them has something going for it, but there’s nothing quite as mind-blowing at this end of the album as there was at the start. A.O. for instance has a wonderfully Antipodean lyric, but absolutely no melody whatsoever. Fast Seconds starts off promisingly, but turns out to be a little empty. Maybe some of these would work better live?
It’s also tempting to wonder whether the predecessor of Pacifica, 2008’s Apocalypso is actually a rather better and more complete offering, but of course that doesn’t have Ghosts on it, which more than makes up for any misgivings you might have about the rest of the album. Pacifica is still a strong album – it’s just let down somewhat by only having one track as good as Ghosts. Which is OK, but it’s a shame. Even so, I’d say The Presets are well worth watching further.
You can find Pacifica in all the normal places, including iTunes.