With several underground smashes under their belt, Life-Work is dishing out their most spellbinding single yet in “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix),” a song that I found to be as sunny as the summer sun when I first had the pleasure of taking a look at it this past week. While the vast majority of Europop that I’ve been listening to this June has been lacking a certain “it” factor, “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” has it in spades; it unabashedly rides a supersized synth harmony to the finish line of a rhythmic reggae race, and though it’s not reinventing pop as we know it, it’s a rebellious slice of catharsis that we needed to hear this season just the same.
The rhythm of this track is, as I just mentioned, straight reggae in style, but the melodies that it frames are chic and cosmopolitan in tone, lending a level of urban pop swagger to the song that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. The drums give us a lot to study from beneath the blustery bassline, but they’re not overproduced in the slightest; guest mixer Pete Hammond does a tremendous job of making sure that every element here has a unique spot in the arrangement, and his attention to detail definitely makes this single the stadium-quaking jam that it inarguably is.
Hammond’s lack of excess in “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” makes the meticulousness of his design all the more credible and inspired, but I don’t know that I would tether this track to the ongoing surrealist movement in pop music. The American underground has been in love with the traditional postmodern model as of late, and while there’s a taste of that in this song, “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” is undeniably a more sophisticatedly sleek offering that isn’t quite as hung up on the minimalist concepts of the avant-garde school.
The vocals in this single are always the star of the show, and try as they might, the melodic synthesizers driving the swinging harmonies in the background are never able to overtake the sheer strength of the verses pinning everything together here. “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” is an exercise in lush lyricism as much as it is a club-ready dance ballad, and that’s not exactly a commonplace combination right now in pop. There’s a lot for audiophiles to unpack here, but the bottom line remains the same no matter what angle we analyze this single from; Life-Work are cultivating their sound and moving more towards the future of their genre than the bulk of their closest rivals in the Netherlands are these days.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to hear the music of Life-Work for yourself, “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” is a really excellent place to start off. I think that, though it’s in a more eclectic tone than what they’ve toyed with before, “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” embodies their musical aesthetic wholeheartedly, and leaves little for us to ponder in terms of their viability as a creative entity. With Hammond’s assistance, Life-Work might break through to the international lexicon with this song, which is something that I think most of us would agree is long overdue.
by Bethany Page
The music of Life Work has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Records. Learn more – https://musikandfilm.com