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CD: Anushka - Broken Circuit | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Anushka - Broken Circuit

CD: Anushka - Broken Circuit

Can the new wave of dance music support a real songwriting partnership?

Max Wheeler and Victoria Port: circuits broken but fully functioning

As dance music once more sweeps the mainstream, we're returned to the situation of the 1990s where singer and song can seem to become a little detached. Parades of “featured vocalists” deliver refrains for the producer teams who are queueing up to repeat the success of Route 94, Clean Bandit, Duke Dumont and above all Disclosure. And as the field gets more crowded, so the requirements for the singers to sit back, know their place and deliver the simplest hooks become more pressing.

Some new generation singers do manage to step into the spotlight of course. Rita Ora parlayed her big hit with DJ Fresh into megapop ubiquity; Katy B, of course, has managed to outshine her producers consistently, as has Jessie Ware. But acts where the singer gets equal billing with the production are an interesting balancing act, and are few and far between. The ongoing partnership between SBTRKT and Sampha comes close, as do Alunageorge (although the latter feel like their personality has been workshopped out of them rather), but new duo Anushka on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood label feel like the closest we've come yet to the nineties glories of, say, Moloko.

Max Wheeler and Victoria Port's songs fizz with the textures of modern house music – with occasional diversion into tougher or stranger rave territories – but their songs bubble over with something extra at every turn. Whether it's Port's massed jazz harmonies on “Never can Decide”, the casually sassy nineties R&B feel of “I Have Love 4 U”, the churchiness of the slow jam “This Time” or the raging social awareness underpinned by snarling bass in “Mansions”, these are complete constructions where the song is integral to the groove and vice versa. If the current wave of dance is to consolidate its success, bands like this are what we need. This is a brilliant album.

Their songs bubble over with something extra at every turn

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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