Idealist, the debut LP from Italian-born Andrea Tirone - recording under Mind Enterprises - is one of the smartest, most well-constructed EDM records in recent memory.
Tirone achieves this by largely eschews modern trends for shallow, immediate hooks in favor of emotion and imtimacy buried within subtlety. This is dance music that trades a Jersey Shore rave for a cruise on a hot August night in Miami, still wearing sunglasses.
As a debut, Idealist displays Tirone's stunningly mature compsitional skill. Tirone constructs his songs from the rhythm up, with the bass acting as the all-purpose backbone: a sturdy foundation ("Farewell"), a racing heartbeat ("Girlfriend"), or a struting dance partner ("Confusion").
Tirone's secret weapon, though, is his ability to craft sticky melodies and hooks. While neither is always obvious upon first listen, he trusts his listeners' patience through repeated spins. When they do emerge, though, they'll be in your head for days. The stutter-step electro-funk of "Chapita" paired with a hand-clap snare, for example, throws you off until the bassline in the chorus interlocks with it and reveals the underlying, sinister groove of the song. Similarly, "Give Me Light" begins with a seemingly throwaway synth riff until the skittering synths underneath it appear and mesh together, forming an aural lightshow all their own.
As its title suggests, much of Idealist's lyrics deal with idealism. A large chunk of the record is filered through the prism of various romantic feelings: wishing to be "a better dancer" to catch the eye of a girl, saying how wonderful waiting on your girlfriend is, and this: "It's like one never-ending trial/ I know we can't gel/ I wish I didn't let you down".
Yet, it's the quasi-title track, "Idealistic", that best sums up Andrea Tirone's expert abilities as a producer and composer: "More than real, magic feels/ Greater ideals, greater ideals". The idea that idealism can be magical may be naive but if it's this effective as a muse, who can argue?