Dâm-Funk and Nite Jewel have followed vaguely similar creative arcs. Both started as eccentric LA bedroom artists and, through developing their production and musical chops, have ended up closer to industry-standard fidelity. In so doing they've lost some of their initial charm: lo-fi made their respective dreams of a retro utopia that much more romantic. On Dâm-Funk's last album, Invite The Light, the loss wasn't such a tragedy; on Nite Jewel's limp Liquid Cool it was felt keenly. Appropriately, this EP from the pair—not their first collaboration, but the official debut of their Nite-Funk project—is a mixed bag. Its four tracks, which tack between the artists' signature styles, revel in hi-fi gloss, and that's not always a good thing.
It starts well. "Don't Play Games" and "Let Me Be Me" are ultra-languid boogie bliss-outs, setting boxy drums and Dâm-Funk's trademark coiled-rubber basslines against Nite Jewel's sparkly vocal. On the former, her delivery sits awkwardly between home-recording mumble and mainstream pop exposition, but that makes sense in the context, sounding as if she's so dazzled by the synth filigree around her that she can't concentrate on what she's doing. "Love x2" decelerates into the slow-jam zone, but there's nothing to fill the extra space except reverb, and the overall vibe is sodden. "U Can Make Me" is plain weird: a sickly pop-house confection with a too-stiff groove and a vocal part that tries to conceal melodic weakness through heavy digital treatment. Dâm-Funk's only bit of singing on the EP—a few countermelodies on the track's homestretch—doesn't help much.
Tracklist01. Don't Play Games
02. Let Me Be Me
03. Love x2
04. U Can Make Me