Canadian trio Dragonette have been on the periphery of the commercial electro-pop scene since the mid-00s. But thanks to the world-conquering success of “Hello,” their anthemic 2010 collaboration with French superstar DJ Martin Solveig, they are now blessed with perhaps the biggest opportunity they’ll ever get to finally break through.
Their third studio album, Bodyparts, suggests they are ready to grasp it with both hands. More streamlined than 2007’s eclectic debut Galore and 2009’s equally daring Fixin To Thrill, the majority of this album’s twelve tracks have one aim only – to get the dancefloor heaving.
“Let It Go” is the kind of fist-pumping electro you’d expect to hear blaring out of an Ibiza superclub, as is the propulsive techno-pop of “Riot.” “Right Woman” sounds like a retro acid-house classic given a deliciously sleazy electro-funk twist, whilst the brilliantly playful “My Legs” doffs its cap to both Yazoo and Skrillex with its early 80s electro bleeps and dub bass wobbles.
Indeed, the latter is indicative of Bodyparts’ fixation with the decade that taste forgot. “Live In This City,” one of the few occasions where guitars are at the forefront, echoes the polished FM rock of Starship. Martina Sorbara’s enchanting childlike vocals veer into ethereal Kate Bush-esque territory on the slow-building electronica of “Lay Low.” “Run Run Run” and “Ghost,” the two melancholic synth-pop ballads which rather unexpectedly bookend the album, could have escaped from a Brat Pack soundtrack.
If all this sounds like Dragonette’s quirks have been completely ironed out, then fear not. “Giddy Up” is an utterly bonkers affair which blends Super Mario-style 8-bit effects, doo-wop backing vocals and Sorbara’s fast-paced delivery to produce the kind of novelty number last heard during Aqua’s heyday. “Untouchable,” too, is also a bit of a curveball, landing somewhere between the faux-reggae pop of Ace of Base and the floatier moments of Gwen Stefani’s solo career.
Bodyparts, therefore, should still hold enough appeal to Dragonette’s loyal cult fan base. But if the intention was to make a record for the masses, then Dragonette appear to have struck gold.