Album review: Classixx ‘Hanging Gardens’

For Classixx to release an album of dance music this good, at this stage in their career, is something of a modern miracle. Too many of their contemporaries from the late 2000s EDM scene (Flosstradamus, even the barely-there duo Guns N Bombs) fizzled out – promising studio albums that never came. For Classixx to not only release an album so far from their starting point (I remember going to their shows in 2008 in LA) but to also release an album this fucking good? It’s astounding.

The album is front loaded with multiple party jams while the back end is almost entirely progressive electro house. Peppered throughout are catchy, otherworldly melodies that recall early Orbital and at times, midperiod Kraftwerk. This is an album by a duo who clearly have been schooled deeply in electronic dance music: to call this album simple an EDM album (that label is vile!) would be misleading. This album is just plain fucking good.

It shares a sonic brotherhood with the recent Daft Punk album “Random Access Memories” – whereas that album sounded like a wonderful retreat back into what inspired them, this new Classixx album sounds like what I imagine many wished “Random Access Memories” had been – an unashamed yet chill dance party.

It’s not only well-schooled but it’s also a fucking beautiful album: “Long Lost” sounds like a sunset, while early single (and album standout) “Holding On” is the song of the summer for possibly the next 3 summers alone. “A Stranger Love” utilizes a female vocalist (Sarah Chernoff) not just to sing a hook but to tie the song together entirely.

“Hanging Gardens” is a beautiful, memorable album that will go down as one of the albums of the year. It’s classy and classic at the same time; a rare combo. Highly, highly recommended.