Electro-house duo Shintaro have just one goal on their new EP: to make you dance.
Electronic dance music really only exists for one reason: to get people to dance. It’s right there in the name of the genre. Given that directive, Summer Sounds, the new EP by local electro-house upstarts Shintaro, may well be the most effective album of all time.
Summer Sounds sets asses to shaking right from the word “go.” The first track, “Shintaro Comes Alive,” has just enough ’80s-style cheese to make you smile, but avoids lapsing into a full-on irony overdose. The pulsing, flaring guitar sample and distorted disco vocals are good and silly, but are offset by an all-business four-four, fist-pumping beat, and whirling, creeping synths that add some much-needed sandpaper.
“Planck,” a song from Shintaro’s previous EP—January’s less upbeat Facebreaker—gets remixed not once, but twice on Summer Sounds. The track was originally an aggressive ball of squelching synths, mid-range buzz-saw bass, and aggressive drum breaks, but the Summer Sounds versions are infinitely more chilled out. The first reimagining is big, intentionally dumb, and bouncy. It’s the sort of song you just can’t help moving to. The second remix, on the other hand, is downright sexy, courtesy of a well-placed Stardust sample and Latin-influenced percussion.
Shintaro are quite good at working with samples as a whole. Despite being a relatively new act, they have a strong understanding of how to use familiar material to create interest without straight-up ripping off the source. “She’s Electric (Summer Mix),” is a great example: you know you recognize the distorted male vocal sample riding the brostep-y wobble and snapping snares, but it takes you a minute to figure out why. (I’ll spare you the suspense. The sample is from the Talking Heads’ 1977 classic “Psycho Killer.”) “Slayers” does a similarly good job of taking unexpected samples—in this case, a myriad of classic metal—and turning them into dance music. (That’s the track you can play above.)
Shintaro aren’t deep or thoughtful. If you’re looking for something to stimulate your brain, keep looking. If, on the other hand, you want to get feet moving and butts out of chairs, Summer Sounds is the Colt 45 of albums. It works every time.