MUSIC REVIEW | The Presets – Apocalypso (2009)


I never would have thought I would be a fan of electronic music. I’ve never been anti the genre as a whole, and there have been a handful of songs over the years that I have liked, but never enough for me to really regard the genre as anything worth paying any attention to. Then I stumbled across an article form Faster Louder about The 50 Albums That Defined our Decade. And since I’m always struggling to think of new (to me) bands and artists to write about here, I thought I’d use that article for some suggestions, which lead me to The Presets and Apocalypso.

Kicking off with a real scruff of the neck grabber, Kicking and Screaming is vintage electronic beats, bleeps and bloops, that somehow sound totally immediate and new. Which is saying something, considering this album is already six years old. Technology wise, there’s nothing cutting edge going on. And musically, I can’t put my finger on anything that this song does that you couldn’t’ hear in 90s electronica, but it just feels new and urgent.

While the opener was in no way a skip through a sunny meadow, My People doesn’t just lay on the darkness. It gets downright sinister, foreboding and even threatening. It’s relentless in its darkness and it’s awesome. Which makes the lush harmonies of A New Sky stand out even more. Even when the bass drone kicks in, the harmonic opening has already given this song such a different feel from its predecessor that the mood has shifted to give Apocalypso a whole new dimension.

With their borderline 80s sound, Julian Hamilton’s vocals go more 80s than a John Hughes movie on This Boys in Love. And when he does change it up, the falsetto only ties it to that decade even more. While other songs sound like a new millennium take on an 80s aesthetic, This Boys in Love is more like a direct tribute or homage to the time. And The Presets more than pull it off.

With Yippiyo-Ya, I became consciously aware of something that I then realised had been there all throughout Apocalypso. The Presets are all about that driving, dirty, droning bass. Backed up by Talk Like That, this whole album is pushed forward at every beat by the relentless bass, and it never gets old.

And if I thought I liked this album before, none of that even comes close to the awesomeness that is Eucalyptus. Take away the vocals, and you have the music for the boss level of the most badass game never made before the Sega Master System. Add the vocals and it somehow gets even better. It’s almost like The Presets kept all their usual instruments, but decided to make some sort of industrial / punk rock / electronica mash ‘em up. And if that description doesn’t make you want to hear this song, well then I guess you’re kind of person who enjoys killing puppies. Have fun with your puppy killing. The rest of us decent people will be over here, listening to Eucalyptus.

Before listening to this, I never would have thought I was a fan of electronic music. I’ve never been anti the genre as a whole and there have been a handful of songs over the years that I have liked, but never enough for me to really regard the genre as anything paying any attention to. Well, The Presets have changed that… To a degree. While Apocalypso hasn’t made me want to dig through the history of electronic music and write a PHD thesis about it, it has made me want to know what else The Presets have done. And maybe even whack a few tracks on my iPod.

The Presets

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