The DFA throne has been up for the taking since James Murphy stepped down from the top perch. The Rapture split up, Holy Ghost! failed to step up by revisiting 2005 indie with their fizzy second album, 2013’s Dynamics, shit robot released a fantastic album earlier this year, We Got A Love, while Factory Floor were pre-occupied making a new kind of electro that pretends to be techno by dismissing the big room sounds of the former and fusing it with a kind of Berghain influenced sweat pit minimalism. All good, but none of them reaching that infamous ‘hit’ status.

So onto the The Juan MacLean, the duo made up of Murphy cohort MacLean and vocalist/multi-percussionist Nancy Whang, a major player in LCD Soundsystem. Throughout that time they’ve hooked up to indulge in their mutual love of twisted disco under Maclean’s ‘sort-of’ name since 2005’s debut, Less Than Human. The ending of Wang’s ‘day job’ has resulted in them dropping their best album to date – coincidence, or natural conclusion?

They’ve released some killer tracks during this time; the epic 10 minute “Happy House” or last Year’s standalone release “Feels Like Movin’ for example both showed a skill for jaunty dance music. Yet their two previous albums, despite being strong, haven’t quite stood up to the power of the singles, either a result of them either trying too hard to sound, or not to sound like the act both were so closely connected with.

In A Dream, their first album since 2009 no longer has this cross to bear, and is a much more refreshing listen for it. Whereas before they had a tendency to be a bit slapdash at showing off their eclecticism, this is fully focused, expertly produced, featuring Whang’s best ever vocals, it’s classy, cool and sleek by design.

The intro “A Place Called Space” is an energetic shot of disco, it takes from Giorgio Moroder and Patrick Cowley in the 70’s, Larry Levan and Vangelis in the 80’s, with an addition of pomp taken straight from superb 80’s German pop group, Propaganda, this album title possibly referencing Propaganda’s epic “A Dream Within A Dream”, and certainly nodding its way in sheer scale of its lofty ambition. At nine minutes, it’s a dramatic opener, bubbling synths and a very disco intro of three minutes of build up before the introduction of a voice, a crunching ‘80’s almost hair rock guitar solo just adds to the preposterousness, an unmissable piece of 21st Century disco.

Using Whang as main vocalist is a good move. MacLean’s vocal delivery was a problem on previous albums, non-committal, undistinguished, lost amongst the music and operating the same way of many other electronic artists who decide to have a go on the mic (See Moby, Andrew Weatherall, David Holmes, etc) on In A Dream however, Whang is the star of the show. Be it the bratty protestations “All I wanna do is talk about it” over transcendent synths on the early 90’s revival house jacker “Here I Am” which shows Disclosure how to do that kind of thing properly, or the masterful vocal trading of the two on the Human League-esque highlight “I’ve Waited For So Long”, where Whang soars with yearning on the chorus.

That said, it’s MacLean excels on the uplifting highlight, “Love Is Here”. Its driving live punk funk drums, offbeat basslines and gothy synths build up into an explosion of a joyful early New Order cut. For those missing the kind of gradual build up to joy from LCD Soundsystem on the likes of “All My Friends”, this heartfelt and emotive track will enforce pumped fist and gurns of wonder. His vague, monotone delivery is a perfect match here.

In A Dream is a melting pot of pop, disco, house and funk with a punky anything goes attitude. It’s thirty five years of dance music history wrapped up in a glorious fifty minutes and with Whang at the helm, it’s encased with an icy sheen, impossible to resist.