The term “intelligent dance music” is often thrown around too causally. An argument can be made for the tag from Beyoncé to Madonna, from Diplo to Kendrick, but most often, it’s given to indie musicians who know how to use a drum machine and a synthesizer, and who use the combination to make dance music intent on more than just getting the club floor bouncing. The work of indie-pop band Chairlift fulfills this duty. On their newest album, Moth, frontwoman Caroline Polachek and her collaborator, Aaron Pfenning, are capable of both moving staid indie kids’ feet (the big-beat, sexy “Ch-Ching”) and slowing things down (“Crying in Public”). Chairlift’s dance music is intelligent mostly because it takes time to breathe, build on itself organically and will us to dance while, get this, simultaneously coaxing us to listen to the music.
The Brooklyn duo’s new album is a more sensual and groovy affair than 2012’s Sidewalk Safari, which dabbled in more experimental sounds, but Polacheck’s vocals are still there, and often she’s added a more confident diva power not heard on Sidewalk Safari. Maybe scoring a writing and production credit on Beyoncé’s “No Angel” helped bolster her confidence.
They play Mississippi Studios this Wednesday, March 23 and you should go and dance. Like a smart person.