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Review: The Presets – HI VIZ

After being quiet for a while, The Presets blah blah blah, new album, HI VIZ. The question:
Will it stand out among a crowd of electronic music or will it be as invisible as the other faces?

There seems to have been a focus on percussion and how it works in a dance music context. “Knuckles” exemplifies this well as it is driven mostly by percussion and vocals. There are some minor electronic flourishes. When it appears, brass instruments change the song’s direction. However, “Knuckles” remains sparse and percussion-heavy which keeps it the main focus.

“Out of Your Mind” has a similar focus to “Knuckles”, but keeps things a bit more simple. “Brains” is quite minimal in comparison. However, it does have enough variance to prevent it from becoming filler. Whilst not every song is as percussion-heavy, HI VIZ has a very rhythmic feel due to how much room it gives to the percussion.

The Presets said that they set out to make a record with machismo and bravado.
Parts of HI VIZ sound bold and sometimes aggressive. However, outside of these parts are some are some more standard-sounding dance tracks.

“Do What You Want” sounds like it was designed for a car advertisement. The song contains a good, driving groove. It’s also fairly lean and doesn’t waste a second. However, whilst it does feel really well-developed, conversely it feels consciously calculated.

“Feel Alone” and “14U+14ME” are interesting but are mostly standard dance anthems. “Tools Down” and “Beethoven” take on a bit more space but are heavily redolent of other forms of dance music. The songs work well but they don’t feel as strong as they should. However, these songs still work within the context of the album. They don’t feel phoned in in any way and by the end of the album they are as satisfactory as the other songs.

Beyond that, there are little (if any) negatives. The issues found on HI VIZ are really minor and do little to detract from the experience. It stands out a fair bit from many other current artists. The production work is solid. The lyrics are delivered with genuine gusto. The songs are punchy and tight. There are plenty of enjoyable moments and nothing on the album sounds like filler.

Overall, HI VIZ is cohesive and fun.

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