After years in the making here at last is Illumination, the fully realised debut album from Melbourne’s favourite psychedelic indie-electronic adventurers Miami Horror. With Illumination, Miami Horror has delivered on two years of teeth-cutting live shows and an ever escalating wave of buzz that’s made the group bonafide blog darlings the world over. But what’s most amazing about the grand arrival of Illumination is that the roots of the record stretch back countless moons to when Miami Horror began as just one synthesizer-obsessed producer huddled over a laptop in a bedroom-come-studio and the album itself just a spark waiting to be lit.
The afore mentioned synth tragic was, and let’s face it still is, electronic young gun Ben Plant, who kick started Miami Horror out of a love of Roland keyboards and French house, landing himself on Pitchfork’s hot-list overnight and copping a barrage of high profile remix requests from the likes of Datarock, PNAU and The Presets.
“It started out that I didn’t want to have any guitar on the album besides a little funk guitar or disco bass,â€ Ben grins while explaining the turning point for Miami Horror’s evolution. But then Josh came in and started playing all these other parts that sounded amazing. Paired with what I was working on, nobody was doing anything like it, so I knew we had to turn those sounds into a live thing and just go wild.”
It worked. Since the switch, Miami Horror has launched into dizzying new stratospheres, their well-polished chops as a group making for some unmissable sets at Australia’s biggest festivals, and that’s not to mention some A-list support slot call ups for everyone from Phoenix, Friendly Fires and La Roux to a hand-picked hook up from Lily Allen.
Listening to Illumination is like a guided tour of Miami Horror’s combined minds, with enormous flying grooves gliding through the speakers alongside nods to the deities of French house and vintage synth explorers like Giorgio Moroder and Jan Hammer, all mixed and muddled up with slabs of melting, fuzzy psychedelica, some wandering kraut rock bass-lines, enough star-gazing hooks to make Electric Light Orchestra blush, plenty of ear-catching pop swagger and Ben’s own studied cinematic aesthetics. Never content to stand still, Miami Horror ambitiously test their boundaries across the album, experimenting with lush, almost chillwave instrumentals (see the gorgeous Infinite Canyons), futuristic disco gems (I Look To You), summer-bound party jams (Holidays) and anthem-sized synth epics (Sometimes).
Yes, this is their moment. And though it seemed like an electro-dreamer’s distant fantasy four years ago, Miami Horror’s same excited sense of wonder has only ballooned from then to now. If you haven’t already heard the gospel, expect to be converted to the cause any second now.