This is a record about the world and oneself. Actually, it is two distinct records that Dirty Beaches – Taiwanese born, Hawaiian and Canadian raised Alex Zhang Hungtai – will put out via Zoo Music next week. The first one, called “Drifters”, is more outgoing, more about the world, while the second one, “Love Is The Devil”, is more quiet, more introspective and, well – more awesome. Hungtai told Pitchfork that “Drifters” turned out to be much more of a pop record than he had intended it to be, and to some, that may sound like a pretentious statement. Because “Drifters” is definitely more experimental than Hungtai’s last record “Badlands” from 2011, and that one was a Rock’n’Roll-Drone-Ambient concept album far from anything pop!
But there is some deeper truth to it, as “Drifters” has a simplicity to it – a sometimes intriguing, but too often rather boring dominance of drum computer and haunted vocals that unfortunately suffocate the other elements. “Love Is The Devil” then is a completely different thing. It is more experimental, captivating and much more personal. Hungtai’s comment on Youtube: “I was crying my fucking eyes out when i wrote this and punching myself in the face. I don’t give a shit about what peoples expectations are. This is why I’m doing this record. its for myself and my life.”
Although style and instrumentation are similar to “Drifters”, it somtimes is hard to believe that this second album is by the same musician. Synths, guitar, piano and strings are much more prominent, and it is mostly instrumental, but that isn’t what sets the two records apart. The thing that makes the difference is a sense of melody, of beauty and of the feeling of belonging that “Love Is The Devil” evokes. Feelings are hard to describe, personal, and oftentimes not transferable, I know. But Dirty Beaches somehow succeeded in making a record that takes you in its arms, holds you lightly and says: “It’s all gonna be alright.” And I believe that feeling is universal. Dirty Beaches is on tour in Europe right now.