- Opposites attract. It's a silly cliché, but that's what Heterotic, the husband and wife duo of Mike Paradinas and Lara Rix-Martin, is all about. Their debut from last year, Love & Devotion, see-sawed between dark and romantic, rarely finding a comfortable spot in the middle. Part of that came from guest singer Gravenhurst, whose folky whispers gave the LP a regal quality but also muted whatever sexual energy it might have had. On Weird Drift, he's swapped out for Planet Mu artist Vezelay, whose tender falsetto gives Heterotic that sensual afterglow they've been gunning for all along.
This newfound erotic quality is embedded deeply into the album. It's there in grand gestures like the prog-rock pomposity of opener "Self Importance." There's romance in the drums on "Boxers," which pitter-patter like the faint heartbeat you hear when you rest your head on someone else's chest. On "Amniotic," the synths glisten like beads of sweat on warm skin.
Weird Drift has the same faded Polaroid aesthetic of some of Planet Mu's recent signings (including Vezelay himself), though it's hard to say just what kind of retro Heterotic are. You can hear influences from the '70s, '80s and '90s, which pool into a dreamy collage of familiar motifs. "Rain," with its perfectly placed hi-hats, soaring vocals and booming drums, hints at "Take My Breath Away," while the powerful drum loops of "Lumber" recall classic Björk. Both of these, however, still sound too modern for straight pastiche, and they tug at nostalgia entirely on their own terms, without referencing any one thing in particular.
At times Weird Drift's afternoon daze softens into formlessness. Vezelay's coo doesn't help—he's a skilled singer, but not a terribly versatile one. If their first record was marred by its own sprawling outlook, this one suffers slightly from how similar its tracks sound. But that's a minor flaw when the music is this strong, and Weird Drift is a new high water mark for the woozy psychedelia Planet Mu has been pushing over the last few years. No longer the curious product of clashing personalities, Heterotic's second record finds Paradinas and Rix-Martin coming together beautifully.
02. Rain feat. Vezelay
03. Boxes feat. Vezelay
04. Lumber feat. Vezelay
07. Triumph feat. Vezelay
08. Florence feat. Vezelay
09. Shoe Soul feat. Vezelay
12. Empires feat. Vezelay