By Will Deitz
The Juan MacLean’s first album, Less Than Human, dropped just as we were finally getting “House of Jealous Lovers” out of our heads. John MacLean, longtime compatriot of DFA founder and LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy, and some chick named Nancy Whang were singing to eachother over bass-lines, synths, and electro beats that made us all want to dance our asses off (most notably in “Tito’s Way” and “Give Me Every Little Thing”), even if we couldn’t tell what the hell they were saying. And then MacLean and company receded into the background.
Almost four years after the release of Less Than Human, the Juan MacLean have finally put together their next full-length album, The Future Will Come. We got a taste of The Future last year when the Juan MacLean released the single of “Happy House”, arguably the best house track of the past decade. Its incessant and intoxicating bass riff, driving under such lines as, “You’re the reason for the width of my smile,” and “Stay with me / don’t lose me now / so I can thank you for just being so damn excellent” made its twelve and a half minutes somehow fly by. Nine additional tracks precede “Happy House” on the band’s sophomore effort, and the album is quite good. None of the new tracks reach “Happy House” heights, but that doesn’t keep The Future Will Come from being a venerable follow-up to a somewhat inconsistent debut.
The album opens with “The Simple Life”, an expansive, synth-driven house track with Nancy mourning about “promises you gave/but never kept.” The album’s title track ironically borrows its rhythm from LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge”, and MacLean’s voice speaks in sarcastically authoritarian tones about an inevitable, overbearing future. “One Day” continues the contradictorily mournful-yet-upbeat tone, with Nancy promising us that “[she’ll] tell us what [we] wanna hear.”
Then there’s the epic “Tonight”, which is a bit of a chore to listen to for its sheer length until its tedium is mitigated by melancholy, nostalgic, and downright beautiful echoing piano chords about a billion minutes in. “No Time” is the shortest and perhaps most jubilant track on the album, as an emotionless robot (you can never get enough robots with the Juan MacLean, apparently) criticizes a compatriot for having a one night stand, to have her respond, “Everybody needs some loving… so shut your mouth!”
“Happy House” is still far and away the best track on the album, but in the contest of The Future Will Come, it’s strange close. Its unyielding piano chords (all two of them) sound nothing like the synth-heavy tracks that precede it, but we’re not complaining. Following the downbeat “Human Disaster”, we’re meant to feel like we’ve earned it. Well played.
The vast majority of the music on The Future Will Come is new, and it’s ultimately to dance to. It’ll be interesting to see how people respond when the time comes to hit the floor. Be there, humans.