Problems – This is Working Out (Orange Milk, 2022)
Album: Problems – This is Working Out
Label: Orange Milk Records
Release Date: May 26th, 2022
I’m never good with days off. As a member of the American workforce, these days are strikingly few and far between so I always have grand designs on maximizing them when they present themselves. However, I feel like I invariably fuck them up. Sure, I might map out a day of exacting efficiency where I not only complete every errand I have, but also manage to get in a full workout and have time to catch up on some cool documentaries on Night Fight Plus. But this usually lasts for about two hours after I wake up before I get distracted and start watching people review the Hollywood Squares game for the Wii and fall back asleep.
So, as I sit here on Memorial Day having done the latter of the two again, I decided put my foot down. I told myself, “No! You are going to do something productive today.” So, I got up, ate some tabouli, immediately sat down again, and listened to the new album This is Working Out by PROBLEMS. I have to say, it feels good to be a self-starter for once.
I wasn’t familiar with PROBLEMS prior to checking out this album, and I also hadn’t listened to any of the other projects by the person behind PROBLEMS, Darren Keen. In retrospect, this is shocking to me because they’ve been incredibly prolific and have released a lot of music on labels I really love. This particular album was released on Orange Milk, one of the best labels going today, and Keen has released several albums on Orange Milk over the years, so in all honesty I should have heard them sooner. It’s a damn shame too because I’ve clearly been missing out, as this album seriously rips.
The Bandcamp blurb for this album describes it as a combination of French house and Glasgow electronic group Dolby Anol, and I can certainly see that. It rests somewhere between French house artists like Cassius and Stardust, the beefier synthwave of a Kavinsky, the sawtooth skronk of Mr. Oizo, and, well, Dolby Anol. But this feels more robust than any of the artists I just mentioned. This album has some thick ass skronk to it. Hell, I was thoroughly bopping around my room to this despite being encumbered by so much tabouli.
There’s an incredible immediacy to this album. It has the kineticism of a set of neon pistons pumping and driving the album forward with mechanical efficiency. It makes sense that this album is called This is Working Out because this feels like the soundtrack to some kind of perverse exercise tape, or like the score to a remake of Death Spa. I mean, with track titles like “LSD Protein Shake”, “Gas Station Steroids”, and “Down to Beef Up”, I’d imagine that’s what they’re going for.
This is an amazing album from start to finish. It’s tight and compact, yet an extremely easy listen that is paced impeccably. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t very high on my Top Albums of 2022 list.
For more music stuff and more, check out our review of the album Enema of the State+ by Les Cousins Dangereux.