Romero's long player has been custom designed for short-term impact rather than...
Jack Smith 2004-02-26
It's hard to remember Harry Romero before Subliminal. A marriage that's lasted over half-a-decade, and seen such clubbing greats as "Hazin' + Phazin'", "Just Can't Get Enough", "A Night @ The Black", not to mention his part in the acclaimed remix and production team, the Dronze, along with Erick Morillo and Jose Nunez. Yet life did exist pre-Subliminal - a handful of cult recordings on Strictly Rhythm back in '95 under the Soulfuric guise more then enough to start ripples that would inevitably lead him to become one of dance music's finest exponents of funky filtered disco-etched house.
Surprisingly with a plethora of releases to his name, That Beat is his first long-player outside of the obliquity mix compilation. Yet despite all the previous triumphs there's very little 'new sounding' here to rival those aforementioned glories. Admittedly there are plenty of recent single releases: "I Go Back", his moody Windy City re-encounter of the roots of the genre with the anomalous Robert Owens delivery oozing of references to Mr Finger's seminal "Can You Feel It"; the ethereal Shawnee Taylor sung "Be The One" and Jessica 'Who Da Funk' Eve's edgy tribalistic verses on "Call Me", just three.
But the one named 'Choo Choo' has always been at his best when producing minimal single-note looped chunky dancers - "To The Beat Ya'll" and "Machine Control", prime examples of the ethos of less-is-most-definitely-more. Serving up their signature mix of stark Gallic-styled beats, retro-sample based disco loops and mantra-like lyrical hooks it's all that required to create dancefloor essentials.
The downside, if it's fair to call it that, is the omission of a couple of his earlier releases, like, "So Lonely" (under his Harry & Alex guise), and the still essential "Tania" from three years back. Although a re-tweaked version of the bumping sax-lead "Mongobonix" is a nice addition.
That Beat has been custom designed for short-term impact rather than longevity, with Romero coating staying true to his beliefs, dampening the frequent splashes of pop accessibility before they get a chance to shine, and it's this no-nonsense attitude that will have dance purists squealing with finger-snapping' glee.