Todd Terje - It's Album Time

by Jack Reid

When hearing the first shimmering notes of It’s Album Time you’d be forgiven for imagining that this collection is a love note to quickly approaching summertime. Toward the end of the first track Todd, the ever more relevant disco don, lets us know that it is indeed “Album Time”. Leisure Suit Preben is an aptly named little ditty that wouldn’t be out of place over a montage of sunbathers at a Miami hotel pool in the seventies. That changes just shy of the minute mark and we’re led into a nodding and trippy disco section - still punctuated with those corny chimes, mind.

Tracks blend groovily into one another as Preben Goes to Acapulco. The summer heat was still beating down on me as I became aware of the distinctly live sounding drums, a clear retro disco influence. Those drums in combination with the unashamedly schmaltz-y synth work really gave me the impression that I could be listening to a particularly extended keyboard solo from a jam band. When listening to Strandbar for the first time I was sat on a high speed train in the blazing sun. Watching the British countryside streak past and the carriage leaning into all the corners, I couldn’t help but think that it fit together perfectly. A house piano line dances over a funky bass guitar and heady percussion section, leading to a sunny breakdown. It’s all just so warm. Strandbar is happily evocative of nodding off on a deck chair after a couple of beers.

Johnny And Mary features a guest appearance, bizarrely from Bryan Ferry. The tempo drops appropriately and Ferry’s raspy tones float over a sparse finger-snap beat and reverberant atmospheres that are in danger of getting a bit Chariots Of Fire at times. After the midway point, Ferry’s gentle vocal melody is picked up by an inoffensive piano. By the time the main man is back, the instrumentals have become more electrified, perhaps to remind us who is producing this track. In the end though, it’s back to retro atmospheres and sparse beats. If I’m honest, I could have done without the guest appearance which amounts to little more than a half-hatched tribute to cheese ballads and doesn’t do anything particularly clever.

The two part Swing Star suite is best appreciated as a really sweet pair of joints to string together a Nu-Disco DJ set (I’m really sorry for accepting Nu-Disco as a genuine genre but Beatport hath spoken). There are some fun variations and some genuine flavour that marks these tracks out, as well as the fact that any Terje track is bound to mark a fun interlude in any evening. As a standalone track though, you’ll never hear me begging for somebody to put Swing Star (Part 2) on in the car. There’s just not enough to latch onto for this to be more than simply danceable. The same goes for Oh Joy really. If GTA needed a soundtrack for the loading screens in their next game, here it is. Aside from that, there isn’t much going for the track. By the end of it, it’s all a bit ABBA. And I bloody hate ABBA.

Inspector Norse is a lovely finale for the album. It’s silly and fun; it’s sunny and its jumping melodies will pull at the corners of your mouth all day. In the end, that seems to be the fulfilled aim of this release. From the wacky vintage album artwork to the self-effacing album title, Todd Terje isn’t here to make club bangers, nor bring disco music to the mainstream; he is here to have fun. The songs on this album drip joy and at times, summertime sexiness. This is the perfect album for people who don’t take themselves too seriously and like to dance poorly.