Confidence Man: Tilt Album Review

Confidence Man everywhere is fighting courageously for the rights of bimbos and himbos. While many bands beg to be taken seriously, the Melbourne-via-Brisbane foursome make deadpan, gleefully dumb dance music that is shamelessly distracting and, most of the time, conceptually meaningless. Their second album, tilt, is so committed to meaninglessness and stupidity that it can even function as good comedy and often superlative dance doll. The purpose of these songs was, according to singer Grace Stephenson, “to bring this soft, feminine energy together with this hot, feminine energy.” The result is an album whose closest points of comparison are airhead classics like Spice World: The Movie or Paris Hilton’s Paris– an explosion of raw energy so powerful it’s hard not to surrender.

Confidence Man first tried this formula in 2018 Confident music for confident people, a collection of largely prosaic dance-pop whose slightly fun concept — Stephenson and fellow vocalist Aidan Moore talk-sing in half-hearted American accents about being hot, being in a band, and going to cool parties — has been driven into the ground several times over. The lyrics were strangely compact, as if Stephenson and Moore were looking so hard for punchlines that they ended up overcooking the joke; the production felt undercooked and was reminiscent of the thinness of early electroclash and dancepunk without any anarchic edge. although tilt follows about the same format, it’s better in every way. The main reason is that these songs don’t feel like they were thrown out in the 15 minutes before a show. Producers Sam Hales and Lewis Stephenson pay admirable tribute to ’90s and 2000s dance pop: conjuring up a simmering, hair-raising tech house on “Woman,” and paying tribute to “Groove Is in the Heart” on “What I Like,” and use the textures of dub, UK garage and Balearic house in unobtrusive yet endearing ways.There is nothing here for purists, but many of these songs have the same itch as Dua Lipa’s Future nostalgia or Lady Gagas chromaticschoosing elements from the past 30 years of dance music history to create a refined and varied synthesis.

Instead of trying to write funny lyrics like they did confident music, Stephenson and Moore are more content to blow out, with much more compelling results. Spoken by Stephenson, the lyrics to the Ace of Base-esque highlight “Push It Up” typify the outlook: “I do the same thing every day all over the world / I do it everywhere because I’m that kind of girl.” They don’t really mean anything, but you feel warm and stupid when you say them, which is Confidence Man’s modus operandi. Although Stephenson takes on most of the vocal duties tiltMoore rarely fades into the background, probably because he takes the persona to even crazier heights than his bandmate, with phrases like “We’re alive, we’re all animals with beautiful hair” with hair-raising sleaze.

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