- The Goon Club Allstars label debuted with a pair of Wiley refixes from Moleskin and Samename, suggesting a commitment to grime old and new. But the producer responsible for their second record seems to be coming from a different angle. Mssingo arguably has more to do with road rap: he has worked with London's MC Cas on "Drugs Don't Work" (a reworking of The Verve with surprising emotional heft), and his percussion clearly looks to US rap for cues. Still, as both that Cas beat and the excellent "Brandy Flip" showed, it's the brilliance of Mssingno's heartstring-tugging pop hooks that define him. That and his restraint: though the opportunity is most definitely there, he avoids souping up his mixes to the nth degree or falling back on euphoric trance-trap clichés, instead allowing his loops to reach comfortable plateaus and stay there, working their way patiently into your affections.
Mssingno's debut 12-inch is his finest work to date. "XE2" is the chief attraction, a brilliantly addictive sliced 'n' diced R&B anthem that steadily grows and grows. We get an understated beat in the second half, but the track never explodes into the 808 pyrotechnics you expected. "XE3," with its chipmunk vocals and shiny synths, ventures into giddy trance territory. The membranes of taste are dangerously thin here; fortunately Mssingo's chords and arrangement are perfectly judged. "Skeezers" and "124th" touch on more conventional rap stylings. The latter ought to be aggressive but it's softened by dense synth work and a huge, pillowy bassline; the former pairs Rihanna off against the twinkly, bell-like synths that are fast becoming Mssingno's trademark. These tracks lack a little in sonic delicacy, and in places their mixdowns could do with some finessing. But perhaps it's their immediacy that makes them so irresistibly charming.