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The Presets

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Album Review

The Presets' first full-length record differs slightly from their more happy-go-lucky Aussie dance compatriots, mostly for aesthetic reasons. The detached nature of Beams is more about subtle darkness and underlying sinister intentions, as evidenced on the slow-building opener, "Steamworks" — which begins with the bassline from "Billie Jean" and moves into much more explosive sonic territory (and a rave horn for good measure). Beams represents a uneasy yet unforgettable combination of '80s gaudy pop flair and dark, propulsive rave beats, all with an unsubtle sense of humor. Borrowing nothing from their timid Blow Up EP (most of the songs from that release have been since adapted in live shows to sound more similar to Beams), the Presets have an impulsive, almost primitive charm to their dance music. With heavy bass throughout, keyboardist/vocalist Julian Hamilton experiments with heavy distortion and vocal alterations. On the wild electro-pop treat "Down Down Down," the group keeps to the song's namesake and effortlessly weaves in and out of looped tambourine percussion and dirty synth beats. The middle section is surprisingly experimental given the concise pop of "Are You the One?," "Down Down Down," and the minimalist, winsome cool of "The Girl and the Sea" (it's the only time Hamilton shows some true restraint in his singing, and it gives the song a mysterious edge throughout). "Worms" plods along to a wince-inducing squelching keyboard loop and doesn't feel like anything more than an unrealized experiment. "Kitty in the Middle" contains more hyper-sexual lyrics and whip sounds, and is saved by its simple and funky bassline. The best moment on the latter half is the rave-inspired sped-up/slow-down shifting on "I Go Hard, I Go Home," benefiting from the same wobbly vocal effect used on Tommy James & the Shondelles' "Crimson and Clover." Either heralded for its effectiveness or denigrated for its stupidity, the double-entendre heavy sexual lyrics sung by Hamilton would be a distraction if not for his ability to blend his call-and-answer shouting with the music so surreptitiously. Despite the darker tone, Beams is still a dance album at heart — and a carnal one at that — thereby making his mechanical yelping the ideal background noise.

Customer Reviews

great electro dance + dirty guitar

All I ever want is electro-rock with some rough edges! I've been waiting for the preset's full length after hearing Cut Copy's remix of Girl and the Sea. I would recommend "Kitty in the Middle" and "I Go Hard, I Go Home" in addition to Girl and the Sea for starts. And be sure to check out Cut Copy. Dance to this on a hot night on the town!!

Wonderful Electronic music

First of all, notice that the majority of people who give one star reviews don't type with actual words, but myspace slang, and use terms like "weird" and "ew" to describe music they don't like. These people are better suited for MTV-rotation drek like the Fray, so pay no heed to them. Second, being an avid fan of electronic music, I think these guys are the perfect example of gritty, dark, house music. From the haunting lyrics and powerful beat of "Girl and the Sea" to the very 80s sound of "Black Background", this C.D. is wonderful music for electronic fans. The piano and handclap of "Are you the One?" is the best song on the C.D. in my opinion. Songs like "Kitty in the Middle" and "Down Down Down" are just plain catchy, and even the songs without lyrics are still very danceable. "Beams" the song, however, isn't my cup of tea. Everything else is great, and definitely worth buying.

100% pure awesomeness

This is such a pure genious album, I'm not going to pretend to be a music nerd all I know is there hasn't been a band that has gotten me excited about music for a while. and to the guy that said she wants revenge did it first, HA! FIRST?? what about Interpol and joy Division for that matter, Plus Presets might be in the same style as them but they are just way more innovative with their style. This is one of those albums you listen to from beginning to end without having to skip no 2 songs sound alike or tiring.


Formed: 2003 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australi

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '00s

The Presets are a pair of avant-garde Aussies who, while forging a musical path that wouldn't be unfamiliar to acts like Daft Punk, Nine Inch Nails, and the Faint, don't mind dragging disco along for the ride. Julian Hamilton (production, keyboards, vocals) and Kimberley Moyes (production, drums, programming) met in the early '90s as students at Sydney's Conservatorium of Music. Both were there to study classical music, but as they delved into the great composers, neither could forget an extracurricular...
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Beams, The Presets
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Customer Ratings


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