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Elektrons - Red Light, Don't Stop

Elektrons, Red Light, Don't Stop

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

JUSTIN Crawford and Luke Cowdrey first came to prominence as the Unabombers and attracted quite a following at their Electric Chair club in Manchester, a sweaty basement club that cornered the market in dirty underground music.

Their first album as Elekrons seeks to reinvent themselves somewhat and attempts to shake up the dance scene by bringing their underground sound to the mainstream. In doing so, they’ve attempted to draw from the likes of Massive Attack, Basement Jaxx and Jurassic 5 to create a diverse collection of dance tracks that cater for a wide number of tastes.

Much like Groove Armada’s Soundboy Rock earlier this year, Red Light, Don’t Stop thrives by keeping the mix eclectic. If one track doesn’t wash, then you can all but guarantee another one will have you up and dancing.

It’s a melting pot that incorporates the finest contemporary British sounds, from East End grime MCs to Northern Soul sulphuric soul and futuristic disco, albeit with rare groove and acid house thrown in.

Highlights include the pulsating opening track Get Up, featuring a pumped up call to arms from Jurassic 5’s Soup that invites people to “get up, stand up”. The vitality of the beats and the soulful falsetto vocals provide a pleasing combo that’s utterly infectious and uplifting.

Dirty Basement, meanwhile, maintains the pace but thanks to Eska’s ultra-husky tones sounds like a fast, furious, attitude-laden sound off between Missy Elliott and Macy Gray. The hand-clap beats and background electronics provide a lively soundscape.

There’s more soul on the Basement Jaxx-styled Hurry On Down, which changes the pace slightly, but still impresses with its smooth sense of style, and a playful energy to Stop Hold It, which detours into East End grime – but pleasingly so.

The upbeat “la, la, la, la, la’s” ease you into the utterly summery vibe of Classic Cliche, featuring an exemplary vocal from Mpho Skeef that talks of “skipping on a sunbeam and dancing in the rain”. It’s a sunshine track that’s beautifully written and joyfully constructed.

And Don’t Give Up blends throaty Aretha-style soul and gospel sentiments with futuristic disco to noteworthy effect.

Given the wide reach of the album, it’s safe to say that not every track leaves its mark. But even at its most mundane – mostly during the house influenced offerings – the album is consistently striving to work something different into the mix, which is notable in the extreme.

The Elektrons have therefore delivered a cracking dance album that does, like it intends, shake up the dance scene to mostly thrilling effect.

Download picks: Get Up, Dirty Basement, Classic Cliche, Stop Hold It, Hurry On Down

Track listing:

  1. Get Up
  2. Dirty Basement
  3. Hurry On Down
  4. Stop Hold It
  5. Maximal
  6. Classic Cliche
  7. No Matter What Do
  8. The Source
  9. Don’t Give Up
  10. Wishing
  11. Interlude
  12. Joy