The Presets are an Australian dance duo, though labelling them simply as dance is not doing them justice.
Kim Moyes and Julian Hamilton met at university, where both were studying classical music. They both had an interest in dance music and set about creating some of their own. They were inspired by the energy of rock music that was popular at the time, and wanted to infuse that energy into dance music.
In 2003, they released a six-track EP called Blow Up which gained much acclaim despite its limited release. On the success of Blow Up they released their first studio album, Beams in 2005 which gave the singles "Down Down Down", "Are You The One", "I Go Hard, I Go Home", and, most notably, "The Girl and the Sea", which would be featured on an episode of The O.C..
Beams was well-received, though many critics pointed out the strength of the singles and the tendencies for the other songs to act as simple filler. The Presets themselves have semi-acknowledged this, admitting that "if it sounded fucked up, we loved it and didn't really care about anything else."
In 2008, however, the duo released an album called Apocalypso. It was an absolute monster album in Australia, and received with near-universal critical acclaim, making them household names in their homeland. The album debuted at #1 on the charts, achieved gold certification in two weeks and went on to achieve platinum status soon thereafter. It then went on to win "Best Dance Release" and "Album of the Year" at the ARIA awards (Australia's answer to the Grammies).
The following year, the duo began work on their next album, working on as many as 30 songs that mostly came to fruition towards the end of 2011. This work was then finished and released in fall 2012 as Pacifica, which opened to good reception and was preluded by the singles "Youth in Trouble" and "Ghosts" (which was featured on the soundtrack of FIFA 13), which were released at the start and end of the summer preceding the album's release.
The duo are also well regarded as being very down-to-earth Aussie blokes, despite their growing success. They have expressed frustration that most interviewers only use their Wikipedia page to find out information on them beforehand.
This duo contains examples of the following tropes:
- Album Filler: Much of Beams was (unfairly) accused of being this.
- Ambiguously Gay: Though both men are married, the marketing for The Presets has often played up the "gaybe" aspect of their relationship.
- Animated Music Video: "The Girl and The Sea".
- Dancing Is Serious Business: The music video for "If I Know You".
- Deliberately Monochrome: The music video for "Ghosts".
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Yippiyo-ay" while sounding like a fairly Word Salad Lyrics dance song is actually about being driven wild by good handjobs.
- Indecipherable Lyrics:
- Listen to "I Go Hard, I Go Home".
- Also, the "verses" of "Together".
- Mood Whiplash: "Anywhere" from Apocalypso is incredibly darker than the rest of the album, eschewing the dirty rock of the earlier tracks for a minimalist dance style.
- New Sound Album: While the sounds are recognisable, Apocalypso has a much more hardcore rock vibe than either Beams or Blow Up
- Performance Video: "Kicking And Screaming"
- Shout-Out: To, of all things, boat people and their mandatory detention in "My People".
- Surreal Music Video: "My People".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Aeons" is an ambient masterpiece compared with the pounding dance and rock of Apocalypso.
- Take That!: A gentle one. The Presets were not happy with their night at the ARIA Awards in 2008, given that they had to perform last, and were not allowed to drink at all. So they got costumed up in what look like human koosh-balls and proceeded to let the public at large have a "but what does it mean?" moment.