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Joey Negro and the Sunburst Band Moving With The Shakers Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

A varied, glowing bundle of fun.

Gemma Padley 2008

Joey Negro's name is synonymous with the 90s house scene. As chameleonic as they come, the Isle of Wight born producer (real name Dave Lee) has trail-blazed his way through disco, acid and progressive house music for the past 20 years.

His new album sees Lee return to The Sunburst Band fold. As the beach-lounging sounds – reminiscent of 2004's multi-layered and richly harmonised Until The End Of Time – play out, the more sceptical may view Moving... as a retreat to safe territory. Similarities aside, Lee's third outing as Sunburst nevertheless demands attention.

Joining Lee, who is best known for his work as Jakatta, are some familiar names. Soul hero Leroy Burgess, Elektrons and Domu collaborator Pete Simpson and Diane Charlemagne all make an appearance, but most significant perhaps is Chaka Khan's sister Taka Boom with whom Negro collaborated for the hit 2005 single, Make A Move On Me.

A 17-track album, 18 months in the offing, was clearly a painstaking affair to produce. With undertones of boogie, disco, funk and jazz, the album is wrapped up with a satisfying soulfulness – all close-knit chords and euphoric vocals.

Single, Rough Times, with its attitudinal bass and uplifting riffs is a decisive opening while Journey To The Sun develops the Intro fragment into a propulsive yet summery future hit. Days Gone By has a more disco-edged Motown feel while the whimsical strings and other-worldy vocals of Shabadowah form the perfect introduction to David Bowie cover, Fashion. Retaining the distinctive Bowie swagger, the strength of the original's riff alone carries the track forward.

One of the most instantly catchy songs is Sitting On Top Of The World a slightly erratic disco-charged song that sparkles and stutters its way along. But for unadulterated bass-line emancipation, Free Bass is unbeatable. Although comparably short at 2.41 minutes, it's a moment of stripped back, hi-hat-driven funkiness.

Occasionally the dense harmonies and looped instrumentation become a little stale, but overall, Joey Negro and The Sunburst Band's third offering is a varied, glowing bundle of fun.

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