Groove Armada return with the follow up to Goodbye Country Hello Night Club. With some...
Christian Hopwood 2002
Another Groove Armada album? So soon after the last one? Yep, Andy and Tom seem to be the embodiment of the old adage about resting and being wicked. No sooner have we put Goodbye Country... back in its sleeve (or case depending on your format preference) they go and release another record.
By their own admission the Armada are tired of being labelled 'chill out' and bored of seeing "At The River" appear for the hundredth time on the latest compilation with a picture of a sunset, or ice cube for that matter, on the front of it. Whether the approach on this new album is a phat, two fingered salute against this is up for debate. Either way the boys are here to rock!
Thankfully, the opening number "Purple Haze" is not a cover of the Hendrix classic. That said we are treated to a giant guitar riff which according the sleeve notes could well be a Status Quo sample (yes!) over which Red Rat and Nappy Roots get to extol the virtues of their favourite psychoactive. Similarly "Madder" follows suit with a triumphant speaker bashing, six string crescendo.
Red Rat returns for emcee detail on the awesome "Final Shakedown". This is dirty, ragga house at its best and picks up from where "Super Stylin" left off. "Groove Armada mash up the place..." Indeed!
The hands-in-the-air moment is delivered with absolute aplomb in "Easy" with Sunshine Anderson icing the house music cake with her soaring and, dare we say, eye watering vocals. The single and title track "Love Box" is classic Groove Armada and is up there with "Chicago", one of Vertigo's most sublime moments. The breathy, melancholy synths, Balearic sparkle and surging bass line, like Chicane's "Offshore", create a real end of the summer vibe and bring the record to a close, but not before the bouncy, trumpet sprung, ska-tastic "But I Feel Good".
As an album Lovebox doesn't hang together as well as Vertigo or Goodbye Country but choon-wise there are still some absolute blinders here. Given the extensive gigging and touring undertaken by GA over the last twelve months it seems very likely that most of this album has been written with the live arena in mind. With their end of 2002 tour nearly upon us, it's sounding like Messrs Cato and Findlay are fully intent on embarking on a nationwide campaign of roof removal. Bring it!
Like This? Try These:
Groove Armada - Goodbye Country Hello Nightclub
Basement Jaxx - Rooty
Chemical Brothers - Come With Us