The intriguing side-project of Air’s Jean-Benoit Dunckel and New Young Pony Club keyboardist Lou Hayter, Tomorrow’s World claim to be inspired by post-industrial trio Factory Floor, Chicago house pioneer Lil’ Louis and the soundtracks of Angelo Badalamenti.
But drenched in wonky effects, throbbing bass-lines and primitive electro rhythms, their eponymous debut album also wouldn’t sound out of place on the long-running BBC science/technology series from which they took their name.
Indeed, with its pinging synths and disengaged tones, the robotic pop of “You Taste Sweeter” sounds like it’s been programmed using the kind of ‘futuristic’ gadget that the aforementioned TV show would have demonstrated back in the early 80s. There’s also an equally cold and mechanical feel to the swirling wall of proggy electro that is “So Long My Love” and the sultry vintage Human League-esque “Metropolis.”
But despite Hayter’s monotonous delivery containing about as much emotion as an Atari 5200, there’s also a strange beauty to the record’s chill factor, particularly on its more disorientating offerings, such as “Pleurer et Chanter,” a French-sung tale of bittersweet romance which combines woozy shoegazey drones with R&B slow-dance beats, and the noirish lullaby of “Inside.”
Meanwhile, the stunning “Don’t Let Them Bring You Down” – think The Carpenters given a dose of Ambien – proves that Tomorrow’s World can occasionally send shivers down your spine in a more enchanting way.
The unlikely super-duo haven’t abandoned the familiar completely. “Think Of Me” is an exquisite ballad which combines the lush spacy lounge-pop of Air’s seminal debut, Moon Safari, with the 60s girlband harmonies of The Shangri-Las. Elsewhere, “Drive” is the type of pulsing new wave which would have fit quite comfortably onto NYPC’s Mercury Prize nominated Fantastic Playroom.
That said, it’s the pair’s fondness for the nightmarish and ice-cool that makes Tomorrow’s World Dunckel’s best work since The Virgin Suicides soundtrack.