Frivolous: Midnight Black Indulgence

Look up ‘Frivolous' in the dictionary and you'll find “lacking any serious purpose” and “of little or no weight, worth, or importance.” Admittedly, Midnight Black Indulgence, Daniel Gardner's second full-length under the Frivolous name, is carefree in spirit but it's anything but worthless. The Karloff and Background vet (Gardner has released over ten EPs since 2002) sweetens his minimal house tracks with offbeat jazz interludes (the laid-back lounge swing of “The Long Way” and the work-song “You Gotta Sing”) and tongue-in-cheek playfulness but, thankfully, keeps the focus primarily on the dance floor, especially on clubby bangers like “Sooo Savey” and the driving groover “Forget the Funk” (already heard on Background Records 050). Gardner gives his music its eccentric edge by constantly working left-field ideas, jazz samples, and his own creaky croon into the material but boosts it even more with potent hooks, a case in point the female voice that purrs “It's not you / It's just me / And my social anxiety” in the opener “Me and My Social Anxiety” while a bleepy bass and jacking pulse struts gleefully underneath. Elsewhere, “The Duct-Tape Mechanics” functions as both a bubbly house groove and a horn-driven Matador's chant while “Good-Bye Regrets” and “Perle Moon” offer up delectably smooth house grooves. What renders Gardner's Frivolous material in general and Midnight Black Indulgence in particular so appealing is that it's clearly polished in execution and design yet refreshingly high-spirited, full of affection for the outré music it references, and free of angst—neither excessively dour nor too wacky.

April 2007