My Dear Disco – Dancethink Album Review

Aesthetically, My Dear Disco’s Dancethink LP seems to harp on every synth-pop cliche that has emerged in the past couple years. They have “Disco” in their name, have “Dance” in their album title, call vocals “vox,” and have iPod-esque silhouettes of themselves on the inside album cover. These cliches immediately rub any self-respecting reviewer the wrong way, but don’t worry; this review is honestly not based off of those hang-ups.

From the first note of the first track, “White Lies,” the synth melody already sounded all too familiar to a house track I’ve heard before, but the Dancethink LP does go up from there. Let’s face it: synth-pop and disco pop are not the hardest genres to be a part of. Damn near everything bands in these genres do is somehow catchy and therefore relevant, so I’d be lying if I were to say that nothing here interests me. The funky dual vocalist hook of “For Your Love” does make me want to dance, the groovy “My Dear Disco” does have underling subtleties worth noting, and “All I Do” does have an enjoyable R&B throwback feel to it.

These are guilty pleasures, though. Although almost all of these tracks have a huge amount of potential, but fall short due to generic chorus-hook-chorus-hook-breakdown songwriting patterns. Even the praise I’ve given the aforementioned tracks is given skeptically; each of those tracks has a positive feature or two, but it also has negative features which act as a neutralizer. In “For Your Love,” for example, Prince or Chromeo-esque guitarwork and a catchy hook have the potential of making the song absolutely exceptional, but something goes awry. The songwriting is dulled down to make room for mediocre, passionless vocal verses, putting a damper on what otherwise could’ve been a flawless track.

In fact, my absolute biggest problem with My Dear Disco are the vocals. Synth-pop bands generally have, as a minimal saving grace, a charismatic vocalist who pushes the music to higher levels. Vocalist Michelle Chamuel is generally not such a vocalist. In jazzier tracks such as “All I Do” and duet tracks such as the drum n’ bass-backed “The Way,” Chamuel holds her own, but for the majority of the tracks on this album, her vocals are unfitting. I’d love to see My Dear Disco mix up their songs by adding more vocal diversity, or even eliminate vocals altogether once in a while, because it seems that the vocals at times limit their musicianship.

With their seven band members, My Dear Disco is generally instrumentally sound and definitely have some qualities to be praised for. Practice and maturity could take this band a long way, and they no doubt throw up a pretty fun live show. Unfortunately for them, however, something is lacking on the Dancethink LP, and what might’ve been amazing songs end up just being mediocre ones.

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Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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