For the past few years Cool Sounds has been a constant running through the Aussie indie scene, a rotating cast that coalesces around songwriter Dainis Lacey. The band never quite finds a style to stick to, but their eclectic itch has long worked to their advantage rather than their detriment. Often circling elements of indie rock, the band has courted country and made nice with New Wave in the past, but Like That is as close to the pop flame as they’ve ever found themselves. The record rips into a slicked n’ slippery, dance-ready aura of disco and funk-flexed pop. The faint vapors of The Beta Band, Simian, and Hot Chip emanate from the oiled offerings here, a nod to bands already nodding at the crossover infusion of club culture into pop from before their own time. Lacey makes it work, though, feeling out the gleam of the Aughts with an infusion of polyrhythms, funk strums, and a bounce of bass.
The record largely finds Lacey on his own, having finally jettisoned the notion of Cool Sounds as a band rather than an alter-ego that lets him feed his pop impulses through the wood chipper again and again. He’s not totally lonesome, though. Multi-instrumentalist Dylan Young helps him round out the sounds, saxophonist Pierce Morton gives things a bit of gloss, and his friend and collaborator from Partner Look, Ambrin Hasnain, drops in for some vocal volleys. The record is as self-assured as Lacey has ever sounded. Past Cool Sounds records have always had a bevy of bright spots with some moments that found them working out the kinks, but it’s pretty much a smooth slide through Like That with no rumples. Don’t let the day-go kids show artwork fool you, this one has more style than it lets on. Danis has crafted an indie gem here, one that I fear might get lost among a few higher profile returns this year. For those looking to feel the elastic spark of rhythmic indie in 2022, look no further.
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