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Critiques CD: Vitalic | Rave Age

Expecting Vitalic to still stand loud and proud as a harbinger of change in our increasingly cluttered EDM landscape? Prepare to be majorly let down by Rave Age, French electro king Pascal Arbez’s third studio effort. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not calling into question his undeniable skillset as producer and arranger. It’s merely that the relevance of this record is questionable – at best. The very essence of a great Vitalic banger, the build-pause-explode structure that’s set thousands of dancefloors ablaze over the last decade, feels practically ripped off by someone else here without bringing anything new to the table. The more bombastic tracks, packed tight with pulverizing basslines and little else, are the most disappointing (dreary lead single “No More Sleep”, “The March of Skabah”). While I’m not usually one to rail against sounds that seem ‘dated’, Rave Age’s very generic tracklist (save for the inspired harmonies of “Fade Away”) feels like Arbez has taken many steps back. Sure, the producer brings more of his emotionally driven melodies, shimmering synths and screechy basslines, but gone are any forward-thinking instincts or edge. Perhaps this will be the album with which Vitalic finally earns the adulation of a broad North American fan base?