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New Carpainter: Declare Victory

Carpainter made the leap with 2017’s Returning, showing just how sturdy his sleek mutation of U.K. garage and 2-step could be. Declare Victory serves somewhat as…well, victory lap (or maybe “victory reminder”) while also letting a few new twists into his rattling style. The bulk of this release sticks to what Carpainter has done so well over this decade, opening up with the one-two punch of “Transonic Flight” and the title track, high-energy dance mutations done up with twinkling touches and criss-crossing beats. Declare Victory offers up variations on this speedy formula from there, whether they be heavier (the sinking-sub-alarm of “Mission Accepted”) or lighter (the bubbly and near transparent “Noctiluca”). Sprinkled across, though, are newer touches to the Carpainter sound, which feel more like dips in the sonic pool that still manage plenty of excitement. Check those synth melodies cascading down “Enrichment Center” that lend it a slight spa feel — and also signals the closest a netlable-adjacent act has come to, like, Emeralds — or the pavement-pounding rush of “Wut U Trying,” anchored by a vocal sample. But some of that is better suited for thinking about another day — with this one, Carpainter reminds that he has a winning formula still working wonders. Get it here, or listen below.