Addison Groove - Presents James Grieve

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  • When Tony Williams dropped "Footcrab" back in 2010, he put the juke bug in everyone's ear and catapulted himself to the forefront of bass music in the process. From there, he blanketed the scene with uptempo records referencing Miami bass, electro and other niches before finding a home at 50 Weapons with the Dance Mania-worshipping Transistor Rhythm. Recent endeavours have shown Williams' pitch-perfect studio sheen more than any signature style—his records since Transistor Rhythm have been huge, rounded and polished, with spotless synths and tidal-wave basslines. That's the approach he takes on his second Addison Groove LP, the confusingly named Presents James Grieve. Despite the title, James Grieve isn't Addison Groove's Chris Gaines moment—the music here is easily recognizable, and there's nothing terribly out of character. Framed as a loving view of his hometown of Bristol, it features some of the city's best as well as a few of its lesser-knowns, like Josefina. Though a competent vocalist, her presence on tracks like "Just You" is perfunctory and bland, a quality that bleeds into much of James Grieve. The beefier tracks, like the buoyant acid of "Space Apples" or the jumpy jitter of "Bad Vibes," make the other tunes seem completely unremarkable. The album jumps from one idea to the next without warning, and for every exciting moment, like the expertly-restrained grime exercise "Warped," there's an unwelcome pit stop waiting around the corner. As usual, Williams' collaborators bring out the best in him. DJ Die shows up for "167 Blast," a funky track bursting at the seams with excitable drum breaks and chipmunk vocals. Both appearances by Sam Binga are muscly and vibrant, though neither one is new: they first appeared on last year's BS3 EP. Williams has always known how to churn out a near-perfect EP, but so far long-players have eluded him. Compare 2012’s Adventures In Rainbow Country to Transistor Rhythm—both sound as if they were birthed from the same sessions, but the EP is lean and mean where the album gets soft around the middle. There's an excellent 12-inch (or two) hidden in Addison Groove Presents James Grieve. Some of the tracks, like "Space Apples," are among his best, alongside "Work It" or "I Go Boom." But the rest is a wash, a deluge of average tracks padding a few great ones.
  • Tracklist
      01. Intro 02. Just You feat. Josefina 03. Warped 04. 11th feat. Sam Binga 05. Space Apples 06. Malus 07. One Fall 08. The Spirit Level 09. Bad Seed 10. Abandon 11. 167 Blast feat. DJ Die 12. Cultivate 13. Rzor feat. Sam Binga and MC DRS 14. Ain‘t It Love