Miami Horror: All Possible Futures

Miami Horror try and get out ahead of the nu-disco clones with an explosion of new material, but are all possible futures too many to take in at once?

- All Possible Futures is the second album from Melbourne four-piece, Miami Horror. Recorded in Los Angeles, where the band relocated after their debut, every element of this record takes cues from the summery, sundrenched boulevards and beaches synonymous with the city. Stretching out to a mammoth fifteen tracks in total, there’s certainly no escaping the fact that being a little harsher on the cutting floor would have made for a better overall record. However for the most part, the length of the album works, in that the band utilises the extra tracks to create some consistency amongst the often-divergent styles that appear throughout.

Opener American Dream is a, well, dreamy pop track that is led by an acoustic guitar melody that’s frequently punctuated by a slightly overzealous glockenspiel, but nevertheless definitively sets up the ‘endlessly perfect summer’ vibe the band are after. Real Slow is the first single from the album, the disco-funk song features vocals from Sarah Chernoff. Miami Horror’s versatility is on full show here: the female vocals smoothed in seamlessly amongst the other tracks. Sitting in the middle of the album is (Maybe I Need You), a short but sweet interlude with a disco beat, reminiscent of Too Young era Phoenix. Even given Miami Horror's efforts to bring it all together, this collection almost feels like a mix tape of synth-pop, disco, funk and soul indie-dance music curated by the band, rather than an album. There's a lack of coherency that no number of carefully woven interludes can disguise.

There were plenty of Australian bands doing the indie-dance/disco revival thing before Daft Punk came along with Random Access Memories, but in a post-Get Lucky world it was always going to be a bit harder for these bands to cut through the noise and the inevitable trail of imitators. Miami Horror have made a concerted effort to mature and push their sound since their debut, and these further forays into disco/funk feels like a logical extension of where the band were at half a decade ago. Unfortunately since they developed, a lot more bands have arrived in their genre space and staying interesting will probably require a little more than an extensive track list and some new feature artists. Miami Horror square off against their competitors with a strategy that favours quantity and diversity over carefully curated quality. If they'd had more courage, been more uncompromising in their track choices, they might well have come out on top. As it is, in All Possible Futures there are winners, but they get lost in the pack, obliterated by a profligacy of choice, Miami Horror trying to have everything at once.

- Clare Armstrong.

Album Details

Album Title: All Possible Futures
Artist: Miami Horror
Record Label: (Remote Control)