Palm Pictures LLC
If you close your eyes as the opening disco-punk strains of “Emancipation” commence Dangerous Dreams, you’d swear Moving Units dwelled in the New York hipster contingent. Fortunately, the threesome is LA-based, and they’re almost a fish out of water, as their dark dance-rock isn’t normally sprung from the City of Angels.
The seedy bass lines, tinny guitar and diligent hi-hat-snare bounce of tracks like “Between Us and Them” sound instantly Rapture-ish, but the underscored production of Dangerous Dreams provokes memories of post-punk bands like A Certain Ratio, Gang of Four and Gun Club. The record strips away the polished posturing of bands like The Killers for something more unglued and campy. “Anyone,” with its alarm-call synth cadences and hand-clapping beats, is a worthy club track, while “Scars” is a brooding slow-burner that twists a knife in New Romantic impulses — perfect for slow-dancing in the sweat-filled backrooms of dive bars.
But a record like Dangerous Dreams unfortunately arrives in a time when Moving Units’ sound is par for the course, dragged by merciless inertia into the overdone dance-rock fray. Singer/guitarist Blake Miller and his cohort make a decent attempt to stake their claim, but more deserving bands like UK’s Bloc Party and New York’s The Fever have already beaten them to the punch.
Moving Units: www.movingunits.net