- Much like the title of Kerri Chandler's A Basement, A Red Light & A Feelin' compilations, Colin McBean's approach to house music holds that you only need the most basic ingredients, as long as you get that last part right. Even when he deals with little more than a kick drum and a bassline, his music produced as Mr. G is always infused with feeling. And not just giddy escapist euphoria either: his last album, Personal Momentz, and 2012's State Of Flux were inspired by the death of his father and close friend Lev Van Delden respectively. It gave the records as much emotional depth as they had dance floor punch.
In contrast, Night On The Town? is, as the title suggests, purely about the club, meaning it doesn't have the same weight. It's a slimmer collection of eight tracks, which feels more like six when you consider "The Lab" is under two minutes and "Fixated" sounds like the "bonus beats" that would've been wedged into the end of a double pack.
In fact, much of Night On The Town? could've been B-sides for the great singles McBean prolifically released on labels like Running Back and Dungeon Meat. It all never comes together as a cohesive album. And although his music has always made a virtue of simplicity, many tracks—though far from awful—come off as sketch-like and unfinished. The rattling percussion and viscous dub bassline of "Inhibition" seem to wander through an urban jungle, but they never arrive at a destination. "Interlude" has a similar problem, letting its EBM-style grind stick to one place rather than gallop on McBean's trademark grooves.
There's still some solid, if unspectacular, stuff here, such as the menacing bassline of "Sub Level 3 (G's Freak Zone)." The producer has retained his rough analogue edges: "Thrust" works like a steam-powered jack track, and actually sounds like a piston. The vocal loops that brought soul to some of his best work ("Song For My Cantor" and "Angels (Ascending)") are gone, however, and so is that ineffable touch that ensured McBean's tunes were funky and not just functional. "Exit" is the closest thing to a classic Mr. G track here, but even it doesn't make up for a flat album.
03. Sub Level 3 (G's Freak Zone)
06. The Lab