LES SINS AND THE GIFT OF EFFORTLESS COOLNESS

The first time I heard Les Sins, the dance heavy side project of Chaz Bundick, I was eating a burrito alone at Chipotle. While meticulously avoiding a guac’d t-shirt, the slick monotone voice on Bother started booming through the speakers, mockingly repeating the phrase “don’t bother me, I’m working,” over and over again.

As far as music+food pairings go, the only other time I did an artist that great of a contextual disservice was when I gently hummed Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Night” to an Ellio’s pizza rotating in the microwave. So in a myriad of ways, I do not possess the coolness in order to passably dance along to Les Sins. Is anyone cool enough for this stuff? Les Sins is the type of music that I imagine all those young and beautiful and ethnically diverse friend groups you see in vodka and T-Mobile ads are partying to. And I eat way too many midnight Bagel Bites to hang with that crowd (ugh, I need to fucking diet).

Anything that Bundick gets his hands on will have at least some traces of funkiness and sound like it was made in an era when 8 track players were in every car. But as opposed to his work on Toro Y Moi, he seems less interested in songwriting or expansiveness in sound. He’s simply doubling down on the coolness here. And he’s quite successful with this method on Les Sins’ debut LP Michael.

The lead-off track “Talk About” let’s you know what you’re in for right off the bat. Swirling synths, some steady thumping drums and an Illmatic-era Nas sample. It’s not that jarring of a change, but it helps segway into the murkier dance-hall vibes on “Toy” and “Call,” which is a completely new direction for him. We still get some disco treats on tracks like “Bellow” and “Why,” so don’t worry. The ol’ Chaz Bundick toolbox of sound is still there, it’s just more bare-boned and straightforward than his other projects tend to be.

With any side project, it’s important see whether or not the artist actually set out to make something different or just rehashed his or her already established sound under a new name for some reason. Les Sins certainly has an identity of its own, not living in the shadows of Bundick’s previous successes by any means. The minimalist approach on Les Sins helps modernize the vintage sound Bundick’s established throughout his career and adds a new layer of chic to his already infinite stack of it.