Skream: Outside The Box (Tempa)

It’s good to hear a dance album that doesn’t reek of “pump it up” stupidity. You know what we mean: typical dush-dush club music set by people whose idea of good dance music is a straightforward 4/4 beat with wacky sound effects looped for the entire course of the night.

On the other side of the sleaze-co ball, there’s the extremely pussified modern house, which in all its tackiness, consists of smooth synth melodies and whispering diva vocals suggesting drugged-up vampire sex with non-existent foxes at the bar. How we all long for something new, sophisticated and yet still-for lack of a better word, “pumping”.

Dubstep may be new to Malaysian ears but its dark, ambivalent downtempo sound has been the norm in the UK club scene for a while now. With over-exaggerated basslines and roots in Jamaican dancehall, 2-step garage and drum n bass, it’s a kind of dance music that can be easy-listening and nerve-wracking at the same time.

Although it’s still a love-it or hate-it affair due to its dark and anti-climatic qualities, a moody vanguard of producer/DJs have been making their mark in the genre recently, most notably power trio Magnetic Man and Skream. The latter’s 2005 single ‘Midnight Request Line’ helped to define the genre and his remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’ was the closest thing to an actual dubstep hit.

While Outside The Box might suggest that Skream is pushing things further, he’s actually packaging it in a more consumable format. That’s not to say that there are no crude mixes of blocky rhythms that will leave rnb lovers with headaches (‘Wibbler’) or droning Tron-ica soundtracks (‘Metamorphosis’). But beneath the vocal play of indie diva and rapper guest stars (La Roux and MURS), there’s real pop sensibility in tracks like ‘I Love The Way’ (which sounds like a chilled out Fatboy Slim) and the Gorrilaz-Timberlake style hybrid ‘Where You Should Be’.

‘The Epic Last Song’ achieves just what the title suggests with a drum n bass zing. Both past and present collide with this album and it goes to show, history isn’t a bad thing if you can put a new beat to it.

LISTEN TO: ‘Listenin’ To The Records On My Wall’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL LOVE: Magnetic Man, Rusko, Jakwob
RATING: 4

TRACKLIST:
1. PERFORATED
2. 8 BIT BABY (FEAT. MURS)
3. CPU
4. WHERE YOU SHOULD BE (FEAT. SAM FRANK)
5. HOW REAL (FEAT. FRECKLES)
6. FIELDS OF EMOTION
7. I LOVE THE WAY
8. LISTENIN’ TO THE RECORDS ON MY WALL
9. WIBBLER
10. METAMORPHOSIS
11. FINALLY (FEAT. LA ROUX)
12. REFLECTIONS (FEAT. DBRIDGE & INSTRA:MENTAL)
13. A SONG FOR LENNY
14. THE EPIC LAST SONG

Get dubby at www.myspace.com/skreamuk.