Plump DJs... have grown flabby with complacency.
Paul Clarke 2008
The sixth track on Plump DJs' second artist album is called Intermission and, as you might suspect, seems to be a mere filler. Producers padding out their long-players with a few unfinished odds and sods may be nothing new, but unfortunately almost all of Headthrash sounds dated and half-baked. Lee Rous and Andy Gardner appear to have simply squeezed in some studio time amidst their hectic DJ schedule, rather than producing anything approaching a coherent album.
The situation is most starkly revealed by the vocal tracks, which fall down not because these are two DJs overstretching themselves with proper 'songs', but because the vocals seem effective only in papering over the holes. Future single, Shifting Gears features singer Niara conspicuously failing to sellotape a wobbling bassline and disco string sample together. All this, even before the whole thing comes crashing down with some utterly dire rapping from Raphael Lamotta. Victim meanwhile, sounds like a Sneaker Pimps B-side, Lost In Space is limp funk and only the Prince influences of Theme X come close to the mark, watered down though they are.
As with 2003's Eargasm album, the duo fare better on the dancefloor tracks, and anyone who owns one of their mix compilations. or has heard the Plumps play out can't doubt their DJ nous. Yet even the likes of System Addict or Rocket Soul sound like they're treading water, content to just scale a series of predictable peaks over some fairly workmanlike beats.
The latest LP from the breakbeat's leading lights may be lacklustre, but a dearth of ideas isn't typical of the genre as a whole. It’s a self-sufficient scene which producers like Atomic Hooligan have continued to creatively develop. Plump DJs meanwhile, have grown flabby with complacency.