posted on October 02, 2007 13:23
An ambitious 'organic dance' album that lets itself down with bad production, outdated dancefloor sounds and a basic misunderstanding of what an eclectic record should sound like.
The CLUAS Verdict: 4 out of 10
Straight outta Cornwall, Rairbirds have been active in the UK for most of the last decade with their brand of organic dance - no samples, just live instrumentation. Unfortunately, this long-time-coming first album has all the hallmarks of being sat on and fiddled with for too long.
Fair play to them, it must be said, for their ambition in gathering a variety of sounds and influences: dancefloor-fillers, jazz-style workouts and late sixties rock (including a cover of Dylan's 'It's Alright Ma I'm Only Bleeding') are all thrown in there.
However, there's a basic conceptual flaw with this record: as can be clearly heard on 'Unknown', these different sounds are just stuck together like Lego bricks of different shapes and colours. What this means for the listener is that the tracks cut sharply from chilled to bangin' and back again, wrecking every buzz it creates. Being eclectic like a radio show (lots of styles presented separately one after the other) is no model for making an eclectic record (lots of styles mashed together to create one new style).
And the dance parts - Hacienda-style anthems with naff titles like 'Lo 2 Hi' and 'B Sum 1' - sound dated compared to more accomplished contemporaries like Justice and Digitalism, both of whom make real-deal eclectic dance music that's fresh in both composition and production.
Speaking of which, the production on this record is terrible: can that really be an actual orchestra (the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, seeing as you asked) sounding as flat and tinny as a keyboard setting?
There are lots of good intentions and plenty of energy on this record, but little in the way of anything exciting, memorable or well-made. Maybe Volume 2 will be the one.
To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.