- Phillip Lauer has had his fingers in quite a few pies over the last decade or so. Whether solo as Brontosaurus, with Christian Beißwenger as Arto Mwambe or with Gerd Janson as Tuff City Kids, the Frankfurt artist gets around. In 2012, he showed a knack for fleecy house and Balearic rock with his first album on Running Back, Phillips. A well-rounded selection that ran the gamut from wide-eyed Balearic ("70000ac") to electro rock ("Frontex Slowfox") and star-blind kosmische ("Sandalscene"), Phillips was an aptly-assembled series of nostalgia-inspired tracks that jelled nicely on the full-length format.
For his second album, Lauer makes a lateral move from Running Back to Permanent Vacation for the cheekily-titled Borndom. For the most part, those seeking the retro joys of Phillips will be pleased. Opener "Crewners," with its ringing synth and hazy, distant vocoder, evokes '70s and early '80s film soundtracks, but its soft sadness quickly gives way to the spring-green of "Gammelan." Beneath humid pads and another vocoder exercise, "Msndrstndng" again shows Lauer's reverence for the early '80s. The title track takes this playfulness to the next level, with its slow-paced bass, warped choral melody and codeine-dub ambience. "Reebs," atop a New Order bassline and twinkling keyboard melody, is one of the album's most endearing recreations of classic synth pop (minus the vocals).
Several vocal tracks stall the record's giddy mood-play. "Alright," featuring Ela, resembles the dirt-under-the-nails disco that Italians Do It Better have mastered, but without that label's knack for sounding both elegant and gutter-broke. Ela's vocals on "Telefon" are more effective, used as textural contrasts to Lauer's entwined synth lines. But it's the Depeche Mode-lite of singer Jasnau on "ESC" that grinds against the album's sequencing. This is an odd stylistic gaffe from a producer who's already proven himself so adept at combining tracks into a work easily enjoyed from beginning to end. But it's to Lauer's credit that these minor complaints feel like just that. For the most part, Borndom is yet another LP designed to soundtrack summer events with coolers waiting to be emptied.
03. Hump Acid
04. Telefon with Ela
06. ESC with Jasnau
12. Alright with Ela
13. By By