The year 2001 could almost be looked back upon as the year that music went retro. A new wave of British guitar bands have arrived showing glimpses of a possible re-emergence of Britpop Mk II, whilst across the Atlantic bands, namely The Strokes and The White Stripes, have put 70s garage-rock back in fashion with fantastic bluesy/punk records. The pop charts have also been regrettably full of old cover-versions.
Yet perhaps the most obvious renaissance of the year has to be house music moving back to its roots of 80s electro pop. Felix da Housecat has perhaps led this way with his album ‘The Kittens and the Glitz’ followed suit by Playgroup. But whereas they used the retro synths to create uplifting, funky house albums, ex-Lionrock man Justin Robertson has used the same formula to create a more ambient chilled-out affair, not indicated by Robertson’s fantastic single ‘Have Mercy’ released earlier this year, on Bugged Out!! Recordings, which was a hugely upbeat track. Unfortunately that track is not included here.
‘Revtone’ begins with the standout track on this record to Balearic disco tune ‘The Brightest Thing’. It’s a superb opening to such an anticipated record from one of Britain’s most under-rated DJs. Female loved-up vocals about the stars and love turn this gorgeous track into one of the years best underground club tunes. At times like this Robertson expresses moments genius almost at ease. ‘Ready To Depart’ is another example of this. Elsewhere, Robertson tends to play with the listener, producing moments of joyous magic followed by dark disco beats evident on ‘I Am, You Are’.
What we’re left with is a record, which is vibrant whilst also dark. A record which is alive, yet ambient. Most importantly, however, is that this is clearly a great record and if ever there was an argument as to if post-modern mix'n'match was necessary, this is it.
8Michael Clarke's Score