Michael Mike - Nena o Neno

Nena o Neno, Michael Mike
Independiente, Argentina
Rating: 73
by Carlos Reyes

“La musica que yo sigo escuchando.” You might think disco nights are the same all around the world, but South American disco nights are frivoled to say the least. Everyone finds in disco, the excuse to embrace the flesh and the fetish; the screams of today’s ‘glitching.’ For the past six years, Argentinean sextet Michael Mike has been dropping off-the-wall dance tracks; they’re ready for mass-consumption, but that’s of course a delusion of our hipster minds. The pulse by which their songs are born is a menace, they melt the minute they push the buttons, and turn melody into glassy and all-around wax.

Unlike some of their contemporaries (Crystal Castles, Bang Raiders, She's a Tease), Michael Mike’s music never feels like it’s been taken over by the machines. It feels incredibly human, yet again, you don’t risk much with disco; the genre is exciting and arousing all by itself. Where Nena o Neno succeeds is in delivering shamelessly eye-popping songs. “Lo Que A Vos El Amor” is a fully disavowed pop song, it might be on a spaceship, but what makes it great is the vulnerability of the chorus, pure late-night bliss. If Miranda! and Emmanuel Horvilleur are good at dismembering pop music, Michael Mike tears it apart, just give “Aveztruz” a spin (you’ll see an ostrich loose its feathers one by one).

Michael Mike isn’t fully emancipated from rock music, and while disco and rock go hand to hand, sometimes the overload can turn into a mess. Instead, I’d say the band should go even further into synth-wax; it would excuse the occasional Hip Hop moments in the album as well. “De Baile” and “Mi CD B” are suspenseful, and carry some serious tropicalia rhythms with them. Like its wonderful title, Nena o Neno is a bit bipolar, yet gripping on both sides. Michael Mike is aware they’re making songs and not just dance music, that is, the backbone of the album, the appreciation of its text.