Jacques Greene - On Your Side EP | Album Review | By Volume

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Jacques Greene

On Your Side EP

Jacques Greene delivers one of the most immersive, infectious singles of the year, offset by two familiar-sounding tracks.

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Author: on June 6, 2013
June 3, 2013

Montreal producer Jacques Greene is just begging for a breakout moment at this point. “Another Girl” wasn’t it, despite its shimmering atmospherics and blissful vocal hook; neither was “Ready,” a Burial rhythm-jocking thumper. Now he’s bested both with “On Your Side,” which features How to Dress Well (excited yet?). In an ideal world, this is his pop recognition takeoff.

For those of us whose eyes widened at the pounding beat that dropped midway through How to Dress Well’s “& It Was U” and proceeded to have wet dreams of that falsetto over an actual club track, well, that moment is here: “On Your Side” is a slick club banger, Tom Krell in top form over some of Greene’s lushest production yet. Glinting hi-hats draw the spotlight to Krell’s heavenly singing, as elusive and emphatic as ever, before Greene lurches forward with a fiercely danceable beat. But that’s not where the surprise comes; wait for Krell’s come-ons, the lust by which he croons “you know that I want it, tell ya that I love ya,” seduction only hinted at by How to Dress Well’s sensuality. Greene has always dug how sex-smeared R&B can be, choosing to sample divas over throbbing techno, so it’s thrilling that he’s managed to draw this character out of Krell. And the man plays the lothario well, all sweet talk in sync with hip thrusts, riding the propulsive beat like nobody’s business. So it’s an addictive track, a brilliant collaboration that will have you flip on the repeat switch with no shame.

An expanded version of “On Your Side” is presented right after, auxiliary space providing a deeper groove and indulgence in the tantalizing vocal loops. There’s gain and loss in the lengthened runtime: the unhurried pace certainly lets the groove get in, but that comes at the expense of urgency, the drive of a pop gem intent on conjuring hook after hook. You’ll want to throw the clipped form in the mix for your house parties, leaving the extension for mirror-in-bedroom dancing. Not quite a slight against the extended version, but its necessity on this EP is dubious.

As for the tracks without Krell, they don’t inspire as much enthusiasm. Greene plays with familiar tropes here, building suave garage/house beats as foundation for airy R&B samples and luminated synthlines. But without his newfound muse he flounders; the absence of leading charisma leaves these tracks directionless. “Faithful” is cosmopolitan and poised, the 2-step rhythm steady in posture, synths embellished in zebra-stripe textures. It’s all lounge martinis and cool detachment – enjoyable if you’ve snuck into this VIP area, that is. “Quicksand” is more inviting, the four-by-four house beat imagining a hand leading you to the dancefloor, LED-synths twinkling in anticipation… but then nothing happens, and you realize that you’ve been dancing alone in an elevator. Don’t get me wrong, there is enjoyment to be had in these tracks, but you’ll likely be waiting for the EP to loop back to the Main Event. That’s the Jacques Greene story for you, an astounding track packaged with merely acceptable ones, hoping for a breakthrough yet not quite reaching it.

But “On Your Side,” guys. An exceptional moment for Greene, the producer at his most mesmerizing, conjuring an immersive setting for his guest artist to inhabit; a metamorphosis for Krell, the melancholic singer becoming the pop star, matching the club thump with daring confidence, casting seduction with no apparent effort. And I’ve become enamored, so I’ll be on the dancefloor right next to him; I can save the next dance for you.

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