27 May 2011

Deadboy - Here (Nmbrs)

Deadboy - Here (Nmbrs)

The cover says it all really; the almost Rocky Horror-esque, oversexualised lips splintered and fragmented, rearranged as an offbeat interpretation of a classic image. Deadboy's second vinyl for Numbers, after the excellent (though frustratingly one-sided) If You Want Me is another slice of achingly cool dancefloor destroyers that take the classic house template and move everything to the wrong places in the best possible way. Opening with his trademark fuzzed-up synths and filtering vocals, Wish You Were Here has the kind of epically lush intro you're going to spot a mile off, and rinses it for all it's worth, before dropping into a bouncing, 4/4 house riff, replete with off-time woodblocks and claps. With every new synth line and vocal filter, it just gets more hands-in-the-air and is a surefire set finisher for the likes of Jackmaster, Joy O et al. Here For You and Aint Gonna Lie are no less glorious, working synth lines that recall vintage Inner City against loping funk riffs, rolling bass and big drop-ins. Hell, Here For You even manages to work in bongos and tabla without sounding cheesy.

My only sticking point with this record is that whilst Deadboy, fitting perfectly with Numbers ethos, DJs right across the board (Detroit electro, classic house, hip-hop and dubstep all get a work-out), Here ties in all of these, but is just slightly too cleanly produced; there's just not enough growl, grit, or dirt smearing the record. Maybe it's just too much of Kode9 and Burial, both of whom work with similar dubstep-garage-house variants, but Here lacks the dark side that throws the light into perspective. Final track / B-side Aint Gonna Lie comes closest, with the vocals detuned, the synths pitchbending mournfully, and a seductively deep bassline rolling along. Still, it's a cracker of a record, and after the frustratingly limited one-sided debut, it's good to hear more from Deadboy.

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