Cyclorama is out via Virgin Records France
Francophiles rejoice; the soundtrack of the summer has arrived! Out today, French duo Polo & Pan returns with their sophomore album, Cyclorama.
The album takes the posh Parisian sound cultivated on prior bops like “Nana” and “Canopee” and adds dark, cinematic twists. The result is a phantasmagoric soundscape taking you somewhere mysterious and warm. You’re drinking the best rosé of your life, and everyone laughs at your jokes. You’re dressed in linen, there’s an ashtray on the table, and you can’t quite remember how long you’ve been there. It’s downright sexy.
What stands out in Cyclorama is the presence of themes and movements, like Beethoven’s 9th for a poolside day club. These song structures, themes, and instrumental sounds pop in and out of the album (which is wonderfully sequenced) and make this dance music that you can also sit down and listen to over a chat.
Watch “Ani Kuni”
Polo & Pan’s classic trance-inducing sound comes in loud and clear on “Ani Kuni,” an audio bump of euphoria featuring an infectious chant that will make you jump around. “Magic” follows suit in the ‘party starter’ department with a chorus borrowed from Scottish rock group Pilot’s 1972 iconic hit of the same name. There’s something to be said about a song that gives you the option to scream along with like a sweaty American inebriated on lemonade flavored spiked seltzers or bopping your head to the beat, grin across your face, intriguing everyone in sight, a much more Parisian approach. Perhaps best capturing this vibe is “Tunnel” featuring Channel Tres. If they don’t already, it’s time for the whole world to know about his silky smooth verses that serve so well over P&P’s perfect-at-any-party sound.
I love Polo & Pan’s ability to get a little ~spooky~. Not 2010 Skrillex blow the speakers out a Jetta spooky but far from home, Phrygian dominant scale, edge of your seat spooky. “Requiem” is ominous and dark, with an orchestral opening lead by a bassoon and a harp narrating a journey somewhere far from home. A playful bass and synth line join in to remind you it’s a dance track, but you can’t help but feel like a traveler on the Silk Road.
Stream “Tunnel” ft. Channel Tres
Three tracks later arrives the song “Oasis” (no connection to the lads from Manchester), and you’re transported back to that journey through the sand. You disembark your camel or sporty Range Rover defender (it’s your fantasy, so you get to decide) and begin to wander through this desert oasis, the smell of incense and the sense of unfamiliarity warming your blood. This might be my favorite of the motifs throughout the album as it shows Polo & Pan’s deep knowledge of world music and is downright fun as hell.
Amidst the party bangers and Bourdain-worthy travel tunes are some beautiful romance-inspired tracks. The group describes “Les Jolies Choses,” released as a single on June 18th, as a song about “the beautiful moments of a relationship set in the sandy dunes of Cap Ferret, France.” Feed me the pâté de campange as I pour the vin mon chéri? Merci! “Peter Pan“ (feat. Antonin) ends the album on an equally quaint note, a beautiful duet about the tender side of love. It’s a nice respite from all the “summer of carnage” talk that’s going on to hear someone sing the praises of good old fashion monogamy. Leave it to the French to remind us that we can have our cake and eat it too!
All of these themes come together to make a dynamic and impressive album. This summer is on track to be one of the hottest on record, and I think if we’re going to watch the world melt away, we should do it to the tunes of these sultry Frenchmen (but seriously, call your representative we need to take real action to address climate change). Play it at a party and watch the crowd evolve with each changing theme. Or listen to it alone and let your mind wander somewhere you’ve only dreamt of. Either way, you’ll end up dancing. Stream Cyclorama below. See more on Soundazed.