REVIEW: Dragonette – ‘Bodyparts’
By: Ben Norman
Man, was the wait for Bodyparts a nerve-wracking experience… The history of Dragonette left the future style of the band in a lurch. Galore was full of glam electro-pop tracks, while the follow-up album Fixin to Thrill channeled more of a punk rock vibe, going for rougher edges than the smooth stylings Galore offered. The group released a couple of new tracks on their remix album Mixin to Thrill, each track going a different direction than the last. So with the band’s sudden mainstream exposure with a plethora of featured spots on tracks from Kaskade, Don Diablo, and most famously Martin Solveig, it was anyone’s guess what Bodyparts would offer. Then “Let It Go” dropped, and it seemed that the group was intent on riding the dance wave that brought them so much recent attention. They deserved every bit of that attention, and “Let It Go” maintained the fun, funky spirit that fans have come to know with Dragonette while also diving headfirst into the sound that is oh-so-hot right now. But would Bodyparts be that same sound across the board, or would Dragonette pump out more of their signature tracks?
Starting off on a mellower note, the album opens with “Run Run Run,” a retro-ish track that combines ’80s pop with Goldfrapp sensibilities. Not one of the best tracks on the album, but what works about the track is how straight from the beginning you know that Bodyparts isn’t going to be all “Let It Go” tracks. Keeping up this message is the pulsing “Live In This City,” which could easily live on either Galore or Fixin to Thrill as well as Body Parts. “Let It Go” leads into “Untouchable,” another retro-flavored track that explores the adverse affect a man has on Martina, making her feel dirty just by how pure he is. “Lay Low” starts innocently enough before the beat starts, almost 2 minutes in, the synth-work on the track dizzying and captivating, leading straight into “Right Woman.” The bounce and vibe of “Right Woman” is very similar to that of “Black Limousine” from Galore, pure seduction worked into each note and beat. “Right Woman” precedes the track “My Legs,” a frantic song that tells the story of how Martina’s body is in charge of her nights out. Lines like “I try to wash my face – my lips say put on make up” and “can’t stay home cuz my body’s got itself all dressed up” lead into “and I’m the one who pays for it in the morning.” While I’m pretty sure this defense wouldn’t work in a court of law, if you’re a social creature, perhaps you sympathize. As much fun as “My Legs” is, “Giddy Up” is on a whole new level. The song is pure, carefree positive energy from the first glimmer of a synth through the beats that make you bop until the very end, leaving you wanting more. This is the type of track where you just can’t help but feeling peppy, and the type of track Dragonette is so good at making. “Rocket Ship” follows, pure Dragonette enunciation from Martina over a rockin’ chorus. After “Rocket Ship” flies away, the album descends into “Riot,” the most club-friendly track after “Let It Go.” “My Work Is Done,” the hand-clap frenzied song dedicated to being lazy and getting paid for it, leads into the album closer, “Ghost,” which sounds closest to “Easy” from Fixin to Thrill. Martina’s voice sounds like cool, clear water when she hits her lower registers and she does just that in “Ghost,” giving it a very different vibe than most of the album.
Dragonette basically keeps getting better. Bodyparts pulled together everything that made their prior albums unique and combined all of it into a new identity, a new direction. Tracks like “Let It Go” and “Riot” amp you up, while “My Legs” and “Giddy Up” make it pop. And with swank and sleaze like “Right Woman” and “Untouchable,” it still feels like a proper Dragonette album. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this when it drops, September 25th.