The long awaited debut album from one of breaks' longest serving bands. Far from being...
Jack Smith 2005-03-11
Matt Welch and Terry Ryan, aka Atomic Hooligan, have been bubbling away on the breakbeat underground for a decade now, slicing up the sounds of Detroit, Chicago, hip hop and rave to create their own sonorous hybrids.
During the last couple of years, their star has risen inexorably via a celebrated bootleg of Underworld's "Cowgirl", an official (and very slinky) re-sculpting of the same's "Born Slippy" plus their dynamic "Shine A Light" EP.
Their debut album You Are Here has been a long time in the making. To get an idea of the angle the guys are working, ten of the fourteen cuts are vocal, indicating right away a desire to make a fluid and accessible album rather than a collection of club tracks.
Eschewing the temptation to haul in big names, the boys have worked with the pool of local talent that has served them well thus far.
The clear-cut voice of Sweet Hustler (see "Shine A Light") appears on several tracks, as does that of previous collaborators Pav and Justine Berry. There is also someone with the ominous moniker of Carpet Face, who pops up on crossover track "Wait Til You're Sleeping".
From the opening live-drums-drama of "Seven 10 Split", You Are Here unfurls in a confident and stylish manner, which is in line with the veteran status the duo enjoy within the breakbeat pantheon.
Naturally enough, the breaks are plentiful through the album and come packed with the kind of bombastic swagger we've come to expect from the duo; but they also come oozing soul, funk, rock and whatever else the pair have opted to throw in the mix.
"Pump Friction", for example, utilizes a dark, two-step feel that wouldn't be out of place in a Grime joint. "Spitball" combines rootsy electro with house, "Just One More" (released as a single) is a thundering dance floor behemoth, 1200 Miles (featuring Pav) provides the album's down tempo moment and the title track provides a beautifully ethereal denouement.
Far from being a collection of bangers then, You Are Here is a considered and fluid album that easily takes its place in the Breakbeat Long Player Hall Of Fame. It simultaneously sets a shining example to other artists out there, showing that even hooligans can aim high.