Roy Kerr, aka The Freelance Hellraiser, no longer wants to be Mr Mashup. The man whose _'A Stroke Of Genius' transformed him from a postal worker into an underground bootleg hero in 2001 wants to shake off his novelty tag and be taken seriously - being Paul McCartney’s official tour DJ just doesn’t cut it these days, obviously. The solution? To make a proper album and name it _Waiting For Clearance, from which 'Want You To Know/Pound For Pound' is the first release.
The lead track is somewhat transitional; a song that bridges the gap between Kerr’s past life as bootlegger and his newfound existence as producer. Reminiscent of material from Moby’s Play album, 'Want You To Know' is based heavily upon a song of the same name by Chicago’s 60s psychedelic soul outfit Rotary Connection. Just as with the original, the track opens with a clean guitar and vocal sample before the relaxed drumbeat comes in, and the whole track hits an early gospel-choir crescendo and spends a minute or two winding back down again. Whilst the sampled original song was slow and repetitive, citing over and over _"I want you to know / you made me happy / I want you to know / you made me sad" and "you are the best thing that I ever had", there was plenty of soul in its ambience. Kerr’s updated version may be slick-sounding and far better produced, but in the process it robs it of its soul and intimacy and leaves behind nothing more than a Fatboy Slim b-side. It’s sampling-by-numbers and as a representation of the forthcoming album, it doesn’t exactly shine alongside far superior second track 'Pound For Pound'.
A much truer example of Kerr’s own work, with help from the **Freeform Five**’s Anu Pillai and vocals from Kerr’s own wife Lalula, 'Pound For Pound' abandons Moby’s soul to hook its claws into Basement Jaxx-style guitar-based dance. "Pound for pound / dollar for dollar / is that all you’ve got?" is the instantly catchy opening line over the top of a rhythmic, thumping kickdrum, keyboard effects and jerking, lurching bass, before being joined by jagged guitar for three minutes of up-tempo commercial dance which is sure to be a hit in some club, somewhere. With a similar feel to the Bodyrockers’ 'I Like The Way', it’s a much better example of the dancefloor-filling production style that brought The Freelance Hellraiser to everyone’s attention in the first place, and if you’re into the genre, it’s just about enough to merit purchasing the single. Let’s hope it isn’t called upon to save the album in the same way.
7ben marwood's Score