Escort are to disco what their New York homies Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are to soul: a devoted crew of revivalists unwavering in the belief that their throwback style is as relevant today as ever. Consider how much modern pop is club music, and how busy Nile Rodgers has been lately, and you realize they’re right.
Actually, post-disco would be more accurate, especially on this second LP: Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Ze Records, Grace Jones and Talking Heads are all touchstones here — acts who took disco’s ass-shaking imperative and added lyrical, rhythmic and conceptual smarts. At the same time, Escort are young and unblindered by nostalgia, and make their strongest music when they juxtapose past with present. “Temptation” (not the New Order song) draws a line from Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” through Madonna’s debut right up though Robyn. On “Helium,” Adeline Michèle — a singer who truly understands how to to stoke a club jam — rides a deep house groove through an asteroid storm of laptop-era digital effects.
The band’s touch with songcraft, as opposed to groove science, is less sure. But they do have a way with a cover. On their 2011 debut, they flipped Dillinger’s late-Seventies proto-dancehall classic “Cocaine In My Brain” into “Cocaine Blues”; here they take St. Vincent’s twitchy art-rock pogo trigger “Actor Out Of Work” and turn it into a synth-pop glamazon runway anthem. Add a second LP’s worth of remixes, turn up the bass, and you have a time-warp dance party, plus a workout tape to atone for it.