- Paul Loraine's Rhythm Cult has given a home to oddball house, from the excitable melodies of Stephen Beaupré to Deadbeat's dubby dance floor jams. Alan Abrahams is a good fit for the label, then, because his tunes are as charismatic as his live performances. He has a way of making well-worn forms feel new again, and a knack for imbuing minimalist music with an outsized character. Both qualities are all over Lovers & Players, which might be Rhythm Cult's strongest record yet.
The 11-minute A-side, "Reeva Numbers," is the kind of cut Abrahams might give to Perlon, one of his usual haunts. It's deep, minimal and unapologetically repetitive. His brand of loopy is more dynamic than most: the rhythm drops out frequently and slams back in with an unpredictable force, and the track's melody is a warm organ line that gives a human touch to all that braying machinery.
The soulful keyboards return for "Only Human," set to a soca-like rhythm with Abrahams' unmistakable vocals hovering up top. It's the kind of house-of-cards construction—a downtrodden Depeche Mode-style vocal over an ebullient rhythm—that defines some of Abrahams' best vocal tracks. The record finishes with "Moving, Trains & You," where Abrahams' drums slip and slide underneath a grandiose chord progression that sounds a bit like an orchestra, shading Abrahams' music with some pomp. Every tune here sounds markedly different from the last, but there's no mistaking that they all came from one of dance music's singular personalities.
A Reeva Numbers
B1 Only Human
B2 Moving Trains & You