October 25, 2011 - DFA
For a nominal service charge, John Maclean—aka electronic groove specialist the Juan Maclean—can turn your boring dorm room, kitchen or office located in an independently owned music magazine into a full-on dance party. Everybody Get Close is a digital-only, stop-gap collection of rare tracks, remixes and outtakes that will sate both the Juan-derful fans, as well as electronic dance music listeners who are too busy looking vacant to create their own playlists.
There are some great groove-weapons in Maclean’s arsenal: The hypnotic “Feel So Good” is powered by the vocals of LCD Soundsystem synth op Nancy Whang and the beat science of late drummer Jerry Fuchs. The downtempo “Deviant Device” makes a good soundtrack for putting your iPod-wearing swagger out there or grinding against a wall with your best boy/girl. “X2” might just get your fat, balding middle-aged uncle (you know, the one who bought Tangerine Dream’s Stratosfear back in ’76) on the dance floor, despite him getting predator-profiling looks. For the title track, Maclean gets freaky with vocoder vocals and plenty of synthesizer pitch-wheel abuse, guaranteeing the vibe continues to trail off into the ether—or yet another afterparty.
Since club denizens come from all walks of life, Goodwill stores and levels of recreational drug tolerance, some tastes are never completely sated. “When I Am With You” feels like a trite soundtrack to a love scene in an ’80s-movie, the synth experiment of “The Robot” is innocuous at best, and the remixes by Cut Copy (“Happy House”) and Jee Day (“Human Disaster”) take far too long to get to the apex where this reviewer’s got his hands in the air. (Maybe it’s just my tendonitis.) Still, Maclean has such an expansive knowledge of electronic music idioms, you never know what he’s going to do next—which is why you should always keep an eye and both ears on him.