What is an album worth in the age of streaming and playlist domination? The Parisian trio Keep Dancing Inc. released their sophomore album—A Taste of Possibility—and it might provide one potential answer to that question.
Louis de Marliave, Joseph Signoret, and Gabrielle Cressaux initially found each other through a shared love for acts like «LCD Soundsystem, Depeche Mode, and Palma Violets,» as de Marliave states in the album’s press release. Adding in a constant fascination for synthesizers, the Beatles’ harmonies, and electronic formations like New Order and Hot Chip, the trio’s sound is easily deciphered.
Entering the public spotlight with their debut album Embrace in 2020, the dance-pop band followed with an array of singles—as it is best practice today—culminating in the EP Can’ttrio’s Get You Out Of My Mind that features four out of the ten tracks on A Taste of Possibility.
Recorded during the pandemic’s height, the process differed from before: «We were working with a more stripped-back sound of just a synth, guitar and drums and found that we were much tighter as a band,» states bassist Joseph Signoret.
But it wasn’t just the songwriting process or the live recording that challenged Keep Dancing Inc. The trio embarked on entirely self-producing the record. The band’s collaborative spirit meant that everyone could pitch in: «Everyone brings ideas to the table that we work on together,» explains Signoret further in the press release.
Keep Shifting Inc.
All this information sets the backdrop for listening to A Taste of Possibility. And it seems the album’s title is already engraved as a prophecy for what to expect. Keep Dancing Inc., so the perception, took the possibilities quite literally and explored their sound in all directions.
It starts with 96, an eclectic instrumental track featuring heavy guitar work, fuzzy bass lines, and playful synth melodies, pulling back the curtain of what Keep Dancing Inc.’s sound entails. There’s just enough jam session flavour and drive to create something intriguing.
From there, we arrive at A Taste of Possibility, the album’s namesake song. To say that it sounds different from the opener would be a gross understatement. We are greeted by summer-warm pop, refined with a pinch of funk. It is an almost unbearably happy sound.
And the sound keeps shifting colours from there on out like a hyperactive chameleon: Murders Mourns Again, criticizing Western hypocrisy, is a fast-paced rock sound, housing a bit of surf vibe and post-punk ambience.
Followed by the slowly building synth-pop in Chinese Town, we arrive at the mellow Can’talbum’s Get You Out Of My Mind—a reflection of long-distance relationship and isolation, and the acoustic-guitar-dominated You’reCan’t My Healthiest Addiction.
GPS then throws another wrench with its garage sound—inspired by Let the Beat Hit’You’re Em by Tru Faith. The admittedly funny ballad Pollination Nation Invasion, telling us about the first time experiencing hay fever, is followed by the building pop composition in Tell Me Again, while Radio, the album’s most straightforward rock song, concludes A Taste of Possibility.
Individually Great—But Not Cohesive Enough
There is something exciting about artists willing to branch out, explore different styles, and chart untrampled routes through the sonic jungle. Nobody who truly cares about music wants an album with ten copy-pasted songs.
But with A Taste of Possibility, Keep Dancing Inc. unfortunately went too far with the concept of variability. The album feels disjointed, only held together by an underlying story of creation and first times for the band itself—a story that remains ominous to the uninitiated. It is simply not enough to throw a bunch of singles together and call it an album… even with the premise of that title. There must be an apparent thread and maybe even a sense of direction.
However harsh the criticism might be that Keep Dancing Inc. shot miles past the idea of an album, it is by no means a criticism of their songs individually. Individually, they are great, each in their own regard.
One might enjoy the overwhelming happiness and retro-pop vibe in A Taste of Possibility or Chinese Town. Others may find the instrumental opus 96 or the post-punkish Murderer Mourns Again, easily the album’s best tracks, an incentive to listen.
The album’s overdone variability means that many might find one or two tracks they like—and forget about the rest. And it ultimately remains sad that Keep Dancing Inc.’s second album—after a promising and cohesive picture provided in Embrace—went overboard with their sonic kaleidoscope.
Maybe At The Crossroads
You can now argue that today’s world doesn’t need cohesiveness anymore. Who even cares about albums when playlists are the main driver for music discovery? And I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you. In such a world, it makes sense to create bolder variety.
But then, there’s no need for an album anymore: You gain more attention by steadily releasing singles throughout the year. However, Keep Dancing Inc. decided to bundle the songs nonetheless.
On the other hand, we can give this a positive spin: Maybe we see A Taste of Possibility in hindsight as an album that was searching for the future—heavily impacted by the departure of a former band member, the pandemic, and an urge to experiment. Keep Dancing Inc. states that the album feels like «a big milestone» in their careers.
Each of the record’s songs provides a potential outlook on where the band might be heading. «We’re already thinking about what’s next now, like maybe developing a more minimalist sound for the dancefloor. But for now, we’re just happy to continue defining what Keep Dancing Inc. is all about.»
With the best of intentions, you could see it as a canvas full of promising ideas. And as a cliffhanger for the band’s further adventures.
Keep Dancing Inc. – A Taste Of Possibility
Release: January 26, 2024