Release Date: Jun 3, 2016
Record label: Innovative Leisure
Ultraviolet strobe-beams. Phosphorescent ember-trails. Premature dawn shimmers breaking through glass and kissing your forehead. Whatever permutation of light you can imagine, Classixx can convert it into a fizzy, spilling-onto-the-floor sonic chemical capable of corroding shadows, lifting spirits, and igniting motor neurons like a match to gray matter.
When Classixx released their debut album Hanging Gardens in 2013, it turned out that the Los Angeles duo Tyler Blake and Michael David, previously known for their production, were equally talented as songwriters. Among the album's many highlights were the songs in which the duo brought in outside voices, such as the glorious Nancy Whang-assisted kiss-off "All You're Waiting For" and the pre-sunrise melancholy of “Borderline,” which featured an affecting performance from Kisses vocalist Jesse Kivel. These fleeting glimpses of the pop album Classixx might one day make were tantalized, and on their sophomore effort Faraway Reach, they plant their flag even firmer in straight-ahead pop.
Classixx's first release, 2013's Hanging Gardens, was a bright, sunny dance album with lots of guest shots and hooky tunes with the kind of overall appeal that made them seem like one of the more likely candidates to challenge Daft Punk's techno-disco throne. By the time Faraway Reach came out in 2016, the duo of Michael David and Tyler Blake had extended their reach, both in terms of guests and styles. While mainly based around the kind of bubbly dance-pop that made their first album so good, it also takes on '90s hip-house, slow and smooth R&B, and modern pop to boot.
When Michael David and Tyler Blake first made their mark as Classixx in the mid 2000s, they were riding a new wave of electronic music. In a scene dominated by bolshy beats, obnoxious drops and DJs riding around in yachts thanks to knowing how to turn the bass up, Classixx were the much-needed antidote. Turning to the likes of Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac for inspiration is always going to be an odd choice in electronic music, but it worked.
Classixx 'Faraway Reach' (Innovative Leisure)If summer seems nothing more than a myth, LA-based duo Classixx are sure to change that. Combining pop, electronic, disco, funk and r’n’b, Tyler Blake and Michael David tap up a wishlist of collaborators to soundtrack pool parties and dance tents. How To Dress Well’s emotive vocal lifts ‘Just Let Go’ up into a hands-in-the-air festival high, and auto-tune aficionado T-Pain spreads summery, space-age R&B over ‘Whatever I Want’; elsewhere, Passion Pit deliver some high-pitched nostalgia on ‘Safe Inside’, Alex Frankel exudes MGMT vibes on ‘I Feel Numb’ and ‘The Dissolve’ is the definition of tranquillity.