Like a balmy breeze from a world of endless summer, Classixx are back with Faraway Reach, a buoyant follow-up to their 2013 debut - something to cruise to with the top down, from festival fields to the beach, from the dance floor to the shotgun seat.
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Cutting their teeth on post-punk and jazz before house and disco, L.A. natives and lifelong best friends Michael David and Tyler Blake have been on the road non-stop since the release of their exuberant 2009 single “I’ll Get You.” They’ve headlined the famed Paris Social Club and New York’s Webster Hall, throwing down crowd-favorite sets at Coachella, Governor’s Ball, Outside Lands and everywhere in between.
While touring as a DJ duo, Classixx bolstered their profile with scintillating remixes for the likes of Phoenix, Holy Ghost and Major Lazer, and as fans clamored for more breezy summer anthems from the duo, they delivered their critically acclaimed debut Hanging Gardens, an album that felt like a wistful dream. Classixx then unveiled their formidable live show at Coachella 2014, and continued to make waves on tour, while recording their uncompromisingly sunny followup Faraway Reach.
From its opening notes, Faraway Reach delivers a welcome drift of warm beach air. Recorded at their home studio in Venice, California, as well as Sydney, New York, Johannesburg and Cape Town, the title Faraway Reach holds a powerful significance for the duo. Their friendship has spanned from childhood to touring the world together, Faraway Reach speaks to their previously unimaginable breadth of achievements, both as artists and friends.
“The album title is kind of abstract,” David explains. “It refers to us resolving an underdog feeling that is pretty personal, and finding contentment in our process, one step at a time, toward something greater than the two of us.”
Faraway Reach casts Classixx’s young-but-nostalgic melodies and sublime chords in a more mature, restrained light, albeit no less lively and bright. Establishing themselves as producers of note on their debut LP (Pitchfork called them “great songwriters, too”), Faraway Reach delivers powerfully smooth and soulful jewels that are still decidedly their own – the Classixx signature is one that can’t be traced. Their love of plaintive voices and disco-inspired grooves is as evident as ever, but this time around everything is a bit bolder, the cast is bigger, the melodies distilled into a higher potency – it’s all just as good, but better.
“On the first record, we wanted to include only people that were our friends, and have it be really personal…” David begins, a thought Blake happily finishes, “This time we wanted to make a record with a lot of different kinds of vocals, to see if we could be the common thread.”
The album begins with percussion, then the synths tell you what time it is. Recorded in Sydney with bass impresario Touch Sensitive, “Grecian Summer” shimmers, the chopped vocals calling us out of winter to the beach. Next the boys launch into “Fine Times” with label mates De Lux, whose austere vocals split the difference between life’s various parties and pitfalls. The bass line bumps, but it’s going to be a smooth ride.
The Passion Pit-featuring “Safe Inside” places us deep within festival grounds, sounding like a pop track recorded straight from the teen imagination; in anticipation of summer, rife with imagery of neon and lights. “Most of the vocals weren’t even recorded with headphones,” Blake recalls of a writing and recording session in Passion Pit front-man Michael Angelakos’ apartment in Manhattan. “We just set up a mic in the living room and had the playback coming out of some old speakers which helped give it a really intimate, natural vibe. It felt like the New York version of that whole Laurel Canyon era of recording in LA.”