The playful, sophisticated dance pop of Italian duo M+A's second album These Days is so seamlessly hooky and compelling that upon listening it's hard to imagine a world without it. It's a perfect distillation of a yearning for endless summer.
M+A's 2011 debut Things.Yes was an inventive and spirited exploration of an organic, heartfelt variety of genre-hopping electro-acoustic pop that promised many good things to come from the young artists. But, perhaps nothing could've prepared us for These Days.
M+A is Michele Ducci, 22, (vocals, instruments) and Alessandro Degli Angioli, 25, (instruments) of Forli, Italy. Much like their French neighbors to the northwest, M+A explore dance music as a medium for emotional expression much more than a conduit for cold, cut 'n' pasted samples and beats. M+A's euphoric electronic pop is clever, but not for cleverness' sake. Ducci's earnest and delicate vocals, which hearken to the warmth of Phoenix's Thomas Mars, pair the bittersweet edge found in the best classic pop songs with the buttoned-up retro dance grooves of Beck and Daft Punk's Random Access Memories.