The live-instrumentation dance band and the answering machine: each was arguably the pinnacle of its respective technology, even if progress leaves it further and further behind. Seattle's The West proves it on "It Was Disco and It's Over," a jittery, four-on-the-floor nostalgia piece constructed without apparent recourse to computers. The busy high hat and anthemic chorus are more than a little reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," and "It Was Disco" successfully evokes the same bittersweet euphoria. Soon we will be old, The West seems to say, so tonight we dance.
Is this the central message of American club music? No, it is not. As of 2003, the central message of American club music is that your watch is both very expensive and near a vagina. The West therefore functions as a novelty act—a dance show with an actual band, ameliorating the sense of simply listening to the same music on a better stereo. That means a narrower sonic palette but a larger range of emotions, including that touch of frantic energy that only live musicians or very sophisticated androids can impart. Until we have the technology, we must enjoy the human touch.
The West plays the Palace Thu., Sept. 5, at 9 PM with Luke Dowler, Savage Gentleman, and The Boy and Sister Alma. Free.