The song: LIMO, the first full-length from Brooklyn-via-Chicago duo Pretty Good Dance Moves, is less an “album” that a glossy, eight-movement, electro-pop symphony. And like a more traditional symphony created for an orchestra, this 32-minute collection is meant to be listened to straight through, rather than digested in small, song-sized pieces. But “Movement 2 (1000 Sasa)” works out of context as well. It’s a brief, burbling nugget of a celebratory, videogame synth melody built over a crunchy, distorted bass groove and accented by Brazilian Girls’ Sabina Sciubba’s silky, pointedly sung hook about “frozen sunsets.”
The video: It stands to reason that if the song is part of a larger listening experience that its video would, likewise, be a clip from a longer-form piece. (It is; this video is actually part of a larger film that is meant to be scored by the album it its entirety.) Despite that, these close-ups of Sciubba’s pouty, cherry-red mouth and bare, black-lace-covered body intercut with grainy black-and-white shots of dive bars and skateboarders convey a gritty eroticism on their own. Sciubba’s scenes, shot in high-gloss color, obscure their sexy subject by not revealing more than a glimpse of hip or flash of lip at a time, which makes for a satisfying juxtaposition with the blurry, monochrome realism of the street scenes.
The director: Antoine Wagner, the man behind Phoenix’s “Liztomania” video and tour documentary From a Mess to the Masses, brings a similar extemporaneous, behind-the-scenes feel to the clip for “Movement 2 (1000 Sasa).” (You can even see the raindrops on the camera lens at one point.) “It was shot in New York City and Paris with an 8-mm camera, including some shots with a fish-eye lens,” says PGDM’s Jimmy Giannopoulos. “Antoine Wagner took a very minimal, lo-fi approach to filming with the end result producing great footage.” Because of that, the video feels arty, but too casually shot to be pretentious.
In their relatively short career, which only dates back to 2007, PGDM have landed a string of accomplished collaborators. Their songs have featured Peter Bjorn & John’s Bjorn Yttling, Lissie Trulie and the Grates’ Patience Hodgson. But Sciubba is their best match yet. Her voice can’t help but sound deadpan, even at its most seductive, and she adds some welcome frostiness to the duo’s brightly lit, buoyant synthesizer melodies. “Movement 2 (1000 Sasa)” could sound like a trifle—fashion-show-catwalk music painted with a neon palette—but Sciubba grounds it, adding layers of feminine mystery and darkness to PGDM’s shiny, happy sound.
LIMO is out today via Mad Dragon Records/Township Records.