Groove Armada Goodbye Country: Hello Nightclub Review

BBC Review

Third instalment in the Groove Armada story. Subtle instrumentation and smooth...

Andy Puleston 2002

The summer's glut of media fuss over 'chill out' music being the new black and the coolest thing ever (hey, I saw that 30 page article on the art of chilling and that commercial hawking a compilation CD that's made of ice) can be attributed to the likes Groove Armada et al. They have raised the profile of down tempo way above and beyond the computer bleeps and swishes with a mixture of astute sampling and great musicianship. Come on, be honest - three albums down and a shed load of great tunes, they are all over it like a rash.

Confident enough in their own ideas, Groove Armada are a band that make merit through what they leave out of their music as opposed to how much they can cram in. In short, with Andy Cato and Tom Finlay, less is more. Subtle instrumentation and smooth production keep Goodbye Night (Hello Nightclub) engrossing, regardless of whether they're aiming for the dance floor or the sofa.

The first single "Super Stylin'" is reggae-house at it's finest. So what if it's been done before? The hook and vocals are fantastic and let's face it any track whose bass line is big enough to bowl over a bungalow has got to be worth the gamble with the speaker cones. The four to the floor chunk of "Fogma" and "Healing" is yet further demonstration that Groove Armada can cut it 'up' as well as 'down'.

The breaks and old skool electro funk of "Raisin' The Stakes" is proof positive of how well they can lend themselves to a sound that is largely being forged by prominent others. For obvious reasons the furore over UK hip hop seldom includes Groove Armada yet whilst the likes of Mark B and Blade, Skitz and Roots Manuva fly the flag, the Armada have made some great breakbeats. Whilst "Sun Toucher" featuring the gifted Jeru Tha Damaja, "Raisin The Stakes" and "Whatever Whenever" from Vertigo have featured US based artist, musically their approach and contribution should not be ignored.

Like the others before it, this record eases in and out of styles gracefully. The heartfelt string arrangements of "Edge Hill" take the vibe of "At The River" and sail it down stream only for it to be picked up by Andy's cheeky trombone parp and a brief reprise of one of Vertigo's finest moments and a firm reminder that Groove Armada have done it again.

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