ALBUM REVIEW: CONFIDENCE MAN - CONFIDENT MUSIC FOR CONFIDENT PEOPLE
Every so often a band shows up on the scene like they’ve arrived from another dimension. And in the case of the wonderful Australian quartet Confidence Man, that dimension is New York City, circa 1998-2003.
I don’t want to pigeonhole this band, or reduce what they’re doing by being all ‘This reminds me of a thing I have seen before,’ but holy f**king shit do these folks feel like deja vu, but in a good way?
History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. And Confidence Man’s blood is pumping with the same stuff as LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Fischerspooner, Le Tigre, Scissors Sisters, The Rapture, et al.
(This is meant as a metaphor, not to imply that the members of Confidence Man are also doing copious amounts of acid like James Murphy back in the day. And maybe presently? Who’s to say. At the time of writing this I have zero knowledge about the current drug use of Mr. Murphy or the members of my new favorite Aussie group. Anyhow, back to the music.)
Fronted by duo Janet Planet and Sugar Bones* and backed by synth man Reggie Goodchild and drummer Clarence McGuffie, Confidence Man is making some of the most entertaining and wildy infectious dance music out there. Sure there’s a lot of genre-bending going on here, with elements of house, punk, indie, pop, and a half dozen subgenres are expertly mixed together within these songs. But ultimately this is music for you to shake your groove thing to. And it’s very effective and accomplishing its end goal.
DON’T YOU KNOW I’M IN A BAND
They’re doing all this while creating live shows that blends the most essential element of 90’s pop culture and the first two decades of the 2000’s. Watch the video for “Boyfriend” below. There’s a lot going on, yet Janet Planet and Sugar Bones are acting like they don’t give a fuck. It’s a hybrid of 90’s “Don’t let them see you try” mixed with this century's “It’s OKAY to try really hard so long as the end result is badass/makes for a good social media post.”
Come to think of it, working your ass of nonchalantly is the entire point of dance music like this.
Confidence Man debut LP Confident Music for Confident People is a stunning and unapologetic record. It’s a catchy, highly energetic, unabashedly hedonic, swagger-fueled romp.
Does it make any bold, profound, or transcendent statements? No, but it doesn’t try to either. If you’re just looking for some no-strings-attached fun, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better album this year.
BETTER SIT DOWN BOY
Rating albums is silly and criticism usually tells you more about the writer than the music being reviewed. With that in mind I’d like to bestow this record with an award I just made up:
The 2018 Meet Me In the Bathroom Aspirational Achievement Award.
Congratulations to Confidence Man. Y’all are rad as hell.
* Probably not their Christian names...
Calvin Paradise is not any one thing. The half-hearted vagabond and forgetful luddite currently resides in Los Angeles and how he spends his time is none of your damned business.