The Go Find: Miami
Morr Music

Miami is a short but definitely sweet electro-pop debut from 28-year-old Dieter Sermeus from Antwerp, Belgium. While his ten electronic pop songs weigh in at a mere 37-minutes, that doesn't mean the album's short on detail or substance. In fact, it underwent a relatively lengthy gestation, as some pieces extend back a few years when he began familiarizing himself with electronics aided by friend and fellow Morr recording artist Styrofoam (Arne Von Petegem). Even though the two repeatedly re-worked Sermeus's songs, the results hardly sound laboured but instead methodically composed and arranged. With the exception of one co-writing credit, all songs were written by Sermeus, although Styrofoam is credited with co-arranging and co-producing. There's no denying his presence, however, as he sprinkles his signature dust of electronic whirrs and squiggles throughout, and, while occasionally Von Petegem's introspective bent surfaces (the melancholy “Igloo” could easily be mistaken for a Styrofoam song), Sermeus's generally more robust and extroverted style dominates. The mid-tempo rocker “Summer Guest,” for example, features verses of dreamy languor but contrasts them with loud, synth-driven choruses. His singing voice, pleasant if a little bland, sounds a bit like Billy Corgan minus the snarl but this slight lack of vocal character is countered by the quality of the songwriting. A conspicuous Notwist influence emerges in the strong opener “Over The Edge,” propelled by quasi-disco beats and guitar-driven choruses, as well as the wistful “What I Want,” highlighted by the multi-tracked interweave of vocals with which it ends (“I can tell too much is never enough when it comes up to you”). Other memorable moments include the minimal funk beat that graces “City Dreamer,” the anthemic chorus in “Modern Times,” and the swaying acoustic pop of “The Party.” Even if none of the songs quite match the peaks of Neon Golden's “Pick Up The Phone” or “One With The Freaks,” Sermeus's similar penchant for expansive arrangements and melodic hooks makes Miami a strong debut.

September 2004