Who’d have thought, back in the early dubstep days, that Darkstar would end up releasing an album called Foam Island? Probably no-one, but I’m glad they did, as that title fits the tactile textures of this collection of smooth electronic pop rather well. Twelve tracks, released in the kind of superbly-photographed sleeve you’d expect from Warp Records.
LP £16.99 WARPLP258
LP on Warp with bonus disc of remixes 'n' stuff.
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CD £9.99 WARPCD258
CD on Warp with bonus disc of remixes 'n' stuff.
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I’m no look back bore but as far as Darkstar are concerned not a squilli-note of their music has reached the wonderful melancholic heights of their debut ‘North’ and even then that record went out on a limb to those brought up on their early instrumental productions. For folks who call London home, they are pretty obsessed with the north of England - they should move back.
Following on from slender second album ‘News From Nowhere’ the band has slimmed down to the duo of Aidan Whalley and James Young with Whalley handling the vocals - something that I suspect is a good move as previous vocalist James Buttery always seemed a little too tutored for their sound. Here they intersperse danceable pop with snippets of dialogue they taped off northern folk on a recent trip home. The dialogue is interesting, evocative but distracting at times and perhaps not conducive to repeated listens - time will tell. Like their previous album, 'Foam Island’ contains a couple of killer cuts, particularly 'Stoke the Fire’, which is a surprisingly jaunty piece of electronics with some fabulously crunchy beats building in intensity as the track progresses.
Their beatery and production is pretty solid on this record but I find as the album goes on tracks start to pass me by a little. They have made a brave attempt at trying to document miserable, grey old England in 2015 yet musically it’s a little safe and I’m finding it hard to feel inspired by some of their polished electronic pop.
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