Karl Blau Dance Positive

Traditionally, the concept album has been unified by some overreaching theme, usually one of some narrative, compositional or lyrical nature. And while Karl Blau’s latest may not be a concept album in the strictest sense of the term, Dance Positive definitely has a concept. What he’s done is dedicate an album’s worth of material to the songwriting talents of Bret Lunsford, who did time in Beat Happening and D+, the lo-fi indie project composed of Lunsford, Blau and Phil Elverum. However, Blau hasn’t made some dull collection of cover songs. Rather, he’s taken Lunsford’s D+ lyrics, restyled them and sung the words in entirely new melodies to entirely new arrangements, typically of the danceable variety. With thrift store synths, Jackson 5 bass lines and beats best described as "fat,” Lunsford’s lyrics suddenly front some dusty R&B/soul jams, which suits his amusing wordplay surprisingly well. Even with ghetto blaster production and some pretty cheap echo effects, songs like "Kill the Messenger” and "Take You for Granted” become ear-catching dance tracks and succeed at the record’s supposed goal: igniting movement. For once, it’s nice to have a concept like Dance Positive that’s actually as good in theory as it is in practice. (Marriage)