My greatest dream for the next decade — a second Roaring Twenties, if you will — is the reopening of Studio 54; as disco continues its resurgence into the next few years, it would cash in on a nostalgia that can’t be obtained any other way. dumblonde’s new album, bianca, would soundtrack every night. The duo of Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex have traded the electropop of their self-titled debut for the high-energy disco flavors of the mid-seventies. It’s a seemingly left-field change of genre, but they sound so at home on the groove of these eight tracks, the listener would be hard-pressed to complain.
With song titles structured as a sentence (“glad that i found my way out, i’m in love with myself.”), the album also flows musically, as if it’s a DJ’s set that’s meant to transition near-flawlessly. Opening with “glad,” a ode to surrendering to desires, the switch in sound is incredibly evident; chunky synths, four-on-the-floor beats, and drum machines dominate the mix of the tracks. O’Day and Bex’s supple soprano voices intermingle and hover over the demanding production, creating a perfect combination for dancefloor heaven.
Though the album consistently delivers in its sonic architecture, lyrically, bianca leaves something to be desired. Records can be purely about escapism and ecstasy (as so much of disco is), but the duo make attempts at something deeper on tracks that simply fall flat; “found” tries to admonish a lover who couldn’t give them what they needed, but ends up attacking from an entirely gendered angle. Despite these setbacks, lead single “i” and Donna Summer-sampling “i’m in love with myself.” help gloss over any potential sinkholes. On their second album, dumblonde continue their streak of winning output while also experimenting with their sound on their own terms. What’s else could you really ask for?
Standout tracks: “i,” “my,” “way,” “i’m in love with myself.”