AZARI & III play Sound Academy tonight (Thursday, November 1). See listing. Rating: NNNN
Most of the world has been dancing its ass off to Toronto house music band Azari & III's self-titled debut for well over a year, but it's only now getting a full official release in their hometown. In dance music circles, a year might as well be a lifetime, but Azari & III's sound is less about chasing contemporary club trends than it is about summing up the last 30 years of underground dance music, so the album still sounds fresh.
They themselves see the project as a combination of techno, new wave, pop and psychedelia, but those influences also describe pre-rave dance, so it's not surprising that they're often dubbed a classic house project. That's not the most inaccurate way to describe them, but it glosses over just how many ideas and sounds they've crammed in here. Starting off soulful and melodic, the disc gets weird and dark in the middle, then resolves with some twisted, futuristic funk, basically compressing the arc of an all-night warehouse party into one record.
Top track: Reckless (With Your Love)