"Smile More On The Dance Floor" by CroissantReview
In another of those moments of serendipity which I keep finding when I review for "Hot Music Live" magazine, within a week of writing about the upcoming Duke Keats EP and marvelling how he, like so many current Coventry & Warwickshire musicians seems to have managed the agonisingly difficult feat of balancing accessibility & innovation in music, along comes the new release from an artist cut from the same sort of cloth: I'm talking of Croissant whose new single "Smile More On The Dance Floor" comes out on Friday 24th April.
Featuring guitar by fellow "Hot Music Live Presents" featured artist John Connearn & backing vocals by Libby England, Croissant (aka Ethan Heaselden) has done it again in terms of devising an original & progressive track which also exudes popular appeal.
If I might for a moment digress very slightly, I (too) rarely mention the artwork associated with releases: my apologies (though I do try at least to credit those responsible). However since that for "Smile More On The Dance Floor" is so striking & of such quality that it can neither be overlooked by me nor you before we even hear the song, I'd be remiss not to. And it's all Ethan's own work too: another of the several local musicians we feature whose visual skills match their musical. In fact regular Croissant collaborator Ian Todd has for some time been expressing wonderment at the quality of artwork for promotional posters etc from local artists. It's arguable that in addition to the "golden age" of original music we seem to be enjoying in the area currently, there is an equivalency in this aspect. In which case, mea culpa for not reflecting this sooner.
As for the song in question (which is mastered by Mike Lawetto), it harks back to the era when early experimentation in electronic music gained more melodic elements: think of how the Human League evolved once Jo Callis joined for a good example. There is that simple & tasteful arrangement with its old school synth sounds, plenty of space & that strong melodic line, with the sort of cool vocals as adopted by the likes of Phil Oakey as a natural response to a more pop sound while moving on from the icy alienated singing on early electro material.
Thus we have a reinvention of an older approach for our own times: updating & taking back up the challenge of reconciling the humanity of the human voice with the more dispassionate sound of the technology: an interesting dynamic which brings out fascinating facts of a paradox when done as well as it is here. This is a dance floor which isn't sweaty & heaving with gyrating bodies: it's cooler and aiming for an elitist sophistication wherein Ethan clearly thinks it's gone too far: eliminating too much of the fun in favour of the pose. (I'm sure I won't be the only reviewer to pick up on echoes of Alex Turner's famous jibe about dancers moving like robots in a 1984 style). That he's had the wit to say this in the music as well as the words is the hallmark of excellent songwriting.
Yes, "Smile More On The Dance Floor" is clever & has something interesting to say, but even if people don't pick up on its full meaning (and I often fear that listeners, especially on mainstream media may miss aspects of thoughtful music), it's a delightfully poppy song, radio friendly & certainly the most likely Croissant single so far to cross over & pick up the larger audiences which his craft deserves.