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Elektrons Red Light Don't Stop Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Oh no...not ANOTHER wonderfully intelligent dance duo from the North? Oh yes...

Chris Long 2007

The late, great Tony Wilson once said that music moves in cycles – as rock rises, he explained, dance falls back into the underground to find a new direction. Given the recent sea of ringtone-fuelling, banal sampling, unimaginative tripe that the genre has offered, you can see he might have had a point.

But if these are the death throes of dance, then trust it to a pair of Wilson’s fellow Mancunians to prove there’s still life and fire in the old dancefloor dog yet.

Elektrons may be new on the block, but the pair behind them are no strangers to success. Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford have been ripping up and thrilling clubs for several years as The Unabombers, not least at the exceptional and eclectic Electric Chair in their native city.

That experience shines through Red Light. Their collaborators, which includes the well-known (Jurassic 5’s Soup) and the complete unknown (a clutch of new Brits, including the exquisite Mpho Skeef), shows an ability to choose by talent rather than name, and the mix of beats and treats offers something for everyone.

It comes together in a clutch of brilliantly diverse tunes. “Classic Cliché”, for example, is a breezy sunshine slice of finger-twitching pop, while alongside it, “Dirty Basement” drives home Elektrons’ all-inclusive, anti-VIP message over a tune that’s half hands in the air, half grind on the hip.

Top of the shop is “Stop Hold It”, a slick pick of grime which mixes an ear for a fine beat with an eye for fresh flair, in this case the utterly sensational Tor, who’s MCing is deliciously up-beat and refreshingly non-aggressive.

But then, Elektrons’ talent shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Manchester has a history of producing fine dance duos; Tom and Ed became the Chemical Brothers in the city, while Mint Royale formed their all-conquering big beat there. It’s time for Luke and Justin to take their place on that pantheon. After all, thanks to optimism offered on this album, it seems that dance hasn’t quite done with this cycle yet.

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