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Light Summer Beats

Q-Burns Abstract Message
Feng Shui

Hailing from the sunshine state of Florida, Q-Burns Abstract Message is what you might kind of expect from someone who spends too much time in the sun. Instead of thumping beats like label-mates Fatboy Slim or the Chemical Brothers, and minus the thick layer of cheese that covers most of the work by Air, Q-Burns is sort of like an in-between mix of the two. Using lighter-beats and dreamy synth sounds, it's an album that really doesn't inspire dancing, but it's still a rather light and refreshing listen with quite a bit of pop sensibility.

Not only does the album float along rather nicely through 11 mid-tempo grooves, but there's also a lot of music on the disc (it clocks in at over 70 minutes). While some of the tracks linger on for awhile longer than they probably should in order to hold interest, most of the time things change up nicely and offer enough variation that you don't feel like you're listening to one 70 minute track.

The disc starts off rather unobtrusively with a sample, some cheesy keyboard horn sounds and a sort of homogenous beat on "He's A Skull." After a couple minutes, though, the track goes through sort of a breakdown and finishes out with some twinkling beauty. "Solar Car" starts out sounding like an 80's pop single, but soon a sloppy beat reinforces things a bit and some quirky little noises and ethnic sounding percussion are added to boost it from boring to rather nifty.

As I mentioned above, several of the tracks on the disc have a very keen pop sensibility, and actually threaten to upstage the instrumental ones. On "Jennifer," Q-Burns teams up with Daniel August of GusGus and the track is turned into an effervescent, happy little number that you can't help but want to sing along with. The same thing goes for the very excellent "Kinda Picky" on which soulful female vocals over a shuffling little electronic beat equals something quite listenable. Sure, it sounds like something you might hear on mainstream radio, but it has just enough of an edge to work.

There are some great, straight electronic tracks as well, like the juiced-up disco sounds of "New Patterns" and the funky upright bass and human beatbox sounds in the album-titled track. If you're looking for something with enough of a beat that will make you feel like cruising with the wind in your hair without making you want to push the pedal to the floor, this is the sort of light summer fare that will do it.

Rating: 7