Album Review: The Juan MacLean – “The Future Will Come”

thejuanmacleancover2DFA record’s heavy hitters have been on a role for the past couple of years. 2007 brought Sound of Silver, 2008 had Hercules and Love Affair, and this year the Juan MacLean return with their first full length album since under-rated 2005 sensation Less Than Human.

This time around though, the amazing Nancy Whang has been platooned to help transform The Juan’s sound into the more vocally driven and pop (ish) sounding realm. It’s an addition that was welcome by fans salivating at the chance to hear anything new from a guy that released one of the most stearling singles of last year, “Happy House.” That track ended up being the closer to The Future Will Come, making the euphoria at the end of this album more amazing than any other record I’ve heard this year. 

But let’s jump back to the beginning. “The Simple Life” sets the pace for the album, at an almost exhausting eight minute length, Nancy’s presence on the album is made clear from the first verse. She’s been featured on tracks throughout the DFa catalogue, but here she is finally the center of attention, and like I said, it’s a welcome addition as her voice complements the relaxed minimal house that The Juan is so famous for producing. 

But the most interesting aspect of the new album might be Juan MacLean himself actually getting some good time on the mic. On past albums he was simply an afterthought, focussing the music much more on the music. Even when vocals were used in the past, like on the single “Give Me Every Little Thing” they were from outside personas, not himself. So jump to track two, the title track, and thirty seconds in “The Future Will Come” gets a nice break down, filled in by Juan getting nasty on the vocals. I have to say, he’s probably a terrible singer, but his half spoken and omnipotent voice jumps off the record, “The future will come I’ve had a vision, your popularity is a deep revision.” 

It was like hearing Antony Hegarty or Kim Ann overtop of Andy Butler’s production last year. The vocals slapped me in the face, and the music itself didn’t lose a beat. When it’s all boiled down, the album will be praised for its production and not he lyrics or the vocalization, despite that being the biggest change on the the album. The notable singles off the album, the previously mentioned “Happy House” and Simple Life” along with the ten minute long “Tonight” which falls right in the middle of The Future Will Come, reminding fans of older Juan MacLean material that he can still put together sprawling and layered house music that makes tap your toe and drop your jaw with the same dub pattern. 

The Future Will Come will undoubtedly be remembered for its slight revision in the formula that made the man a legend. Whether it’s for better or worse is yet to be decided, I personally love it though. Die hards might point to songs like “No Time” that last a mere three and a half minutes, pulsating with dancy synths and littered with both Whang and Juan’s vocals. “Just because you body’s human, you don’t have that much to offer. When I’m deep inside of you I feel like there’s not much to do to satisfy your petty yearning” Mr. MacLean opens the track stating. Nancy counters with “tomorrow when then morning comes, I’ll be ready to get home. Thank you for the lovelyup-juan evening, everybody needs some loving.” So the two partners play off each other very well, both in character and in the production. 

Ultimately it all comes back to “Happy House.” The epic, yes epic, twelve and a half minute ramp through classic disco production mixed perfectly with the new vocal contribution is set to get more playing time than it already got last year. The track never loses touch with what it is, maintaining a steady bpm and a perfect rhythm throughout. Nancy jumps in at the three minute mark, with beautiful keyboard rotating in the foreground she captures the listener, “You came to me from my history.” Skip to the eight minute mark, highlighted by an amazing break down that features an awesome bass hook revolving Nancy yelling “Launch me into space!” And the last few minutes do that too, adding much more heavy synth layers to the already funky beat that is carried throughout the entire song. It builds and builds to a euphoric ending, capping what is not only the best track of 2009 next to “My Girls” but what is one of the top albums of ’09 as well. 

If you haven’t heard the Juan MacLean before now might be your chance. The vocals add a fun perspective to the music, now a lot more than just house production and airy synths the Juan offers some of the greatest minimal electro has to offer. Another notch in the belt for DFA The Future Will Come simply can’t be over looked, if not just for “Happy House.”

The Juan Maclean – The Future Will Come    9 out of 10

MP3: The Juan MacLean – “No Time”


4 Responses to “Album Review: The Juan MacLean – “The Future Will Come””

  1. […] The Juan Maclean is a one man disco/electro whirlwind. He’s signed to DFA and is a long time buddy and collaborator with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame. Expect the addition of vocalist Nancy Wang to give the newer tunes a bit of a poppier edge but fear not there will still be full on disco romps to satisfy older fans. This night sees The Juan Maclean playing live and launching new album The Future Will Come. […]

  2. […] one man disco/electro whirlwind The Juan Maclean will be playing live and launching his new album The Future Will Come.  He’s a long time buddy and collaborator with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame. For […]

  3. […] It’s funky, it’s groovy, it’s the future. As Juan Maclean said earlier this year: The Future Has Come. “Old Sequencer” is perfectly produced, as each looping section never gets old, and […]

  4. […] And we agree, especially with the shit robot remix and Nancy’s vocals. so Dirty! […]

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