Album Review: Roosevelt – Roosevelt

By on Wednesday, 7th September 2016 at 12:00 pm

Roosevelt album cover smFor some people, it takes a long time to find yourself and the music you’re going to present to the world. In Marius Lauber’s case, it took 3 years for his Roosevelt project to truly come to life. Three years may seem like a long time in today’s fast-paced, unforgiving music industry, but in Lauber’s case, the results were well worth the wait. Not unlike musicians in successful indie acts we know and love, Lauber was previously in a series of unsuccessful bands, having learned both guitar and drums. After the young musician relocated to Cologne, one of several German cities with an amazing electronic dance music heritage, newfound inspiration provided the impetus to start his own production work.

Lauber also threw himself into DJaying, landing what would be a seminal moment in his career, a DJ residency at Kompakt’s Total Confusion party alongside the famed indie record label’s heavyweight Superpitcher and co-owner Michael Mayer. There can be nothing more instructive to an electronic musician’s life than to gauge firsthand what works on the dance floor versus what fails spectacularly: “What I really enjoyed about DJing was that you could see the results immediately – there was feedback and interaction from the crowd”. There’s no doubt this handy work experience helped guide the creation of this 12-pack of wholly accessible synthpop gems that make up his confident eponymous debut album.

The positive public response to New Order‘s latest album ‘Music Complete’ last year proves that folks are still itching for someone to recapture the glory days of new wave’s past. While Roosevelt isn’t straight imitating them, he does one better, taking what people loved most about New Order’s biggest hits and making it new. Early singles ‘Colours’ (see promo video below with fell album track ‘Moving On’) and ‘Fever’ have already become live favourites, and it’s not hard to see why. Both songs have a pleasing aesthetic that takes the best of ’80s electropop, then feeding it through the hedonistic filter of sunny, more carefree days.


The result: addictive slices of summery, upbeat electro that can appeal far beyond the pedants of German minimal techno, as well as house music aficionados. The intro of ‘Colours’ sounds remarkably like the start of OMD‘s ‘Messages’, but I choose to view this as a tender homage, as Lauber moves past the early robotic approach of the Merseyside duo and brings in his bubbly, Ibiza-inspired style to the party. The tracks that follow it on this collection, ‘Sea’ and the beguiling instrumental ‘Daytona’, are obvious nods to days spent lazing about on a faraway beach. ‘Night Moves’ and ‘Hold On’ are successful exercises in nu-disco, both with admirable breakdowns. The lyrics on this album are less important in what they’re saying exactly – the nostalgia on lost love, the twilight of a summer too short – versus the mood they’re intended to create. In that way, this album resembles the Mercury Prize-nominated effort by another band owing a debt of gratitude to Kompakt, Friendly Fires.

As one would rightly expect on a great dance album, the bass lines are grand and the percussive beats bright. The songs on this strong LP also ooze effortlessly from one to another and regardless of mood, proof of a dance producer who knows what he’s doing. The effects Lauber employs are never too heavy-handed or too geeked out, the usual turnoffs for non-dance music fans. There’s a nice balance, too, between slow, dreamy ballads (albeit with gorgeous big beats) and heart-pumping dance floor fillers, proving the young artist’s songwriting versatility.

There are plenty of ways to overthink bedroom songwriting and production, and I’m sure it was more complicated for Lauber to come up with the songs for this album than it actually sounds. But that’s just it. Back in the ’80s, no-one had heard of Ableton, Cubase or Pro Tools and unless you’re a musician and you need to use them, pay them no mind. This isn’t rocket science. Roosevelt has only one mission in life, and it’s to get you on the dance floor. Close your eyes, give in and savour every moment Lauber has given us.


‘Roosevelt’, the debut album from electronic artist/producer Marius Lauber, is out now on Greco-Roman (the UK) and City Slang (America). Lauber will perform a DJ set at Bestival this Thursday and appear in Frankfurt on the 18th of September before he begins a world tour in Los Angeles on the 20th. We posted the tour dates to the tail end of this tour, culminating in a series of dates in the UK in November, but go here to see the full list of his live dates this year. Our ever-increasing back catalogue of posts on Roosevelt (I hope, as time wears on), including my past review of album single ‘Fever’, will be found through this link.

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