- In a recent chat with a London vicar, Robert Hood said there wasn't much difference in the way he builds a DJ set and the way he preaches. God has long been a part of Hood's music, and his Christian faith has become a central tenet of his work in recent years. While he continues to make sci-fi-indebted techno under his own name, his spiritual side comes out in Floorplan. Even if the borders between his two outlets are starting to blur, Floorplan still has a distinct identity, insistently joyous in all the places techno can be dark or dour.
Another definitive aspect of Hood's career is his love for albums. Many of the full-lengths he's released under his given name come with a concept, theme or manifesto, and they're usually well-rounded listens, a rarity in the world of techno. But Floorplan albums don't come with the same kind of stories. Victorious, like its predecessor, is simply a collection of storming dance tracks—and there's nothing wrong with that, especially when the tracks are this good, and this breathless. Victorious grabs you by the collar and pulls you through, making even ten minutes of repetitive grooving ("He Can Save You") feel like a breeze, or a bluster.
Hood sounds harder, tauter and even more spirited here than he did on Paradise. It's also become a two-person project with the addition of Hood's 20-year-old daughter, Lyric. Though it's hard to say exactly what she adds, it's easy to imagine that someone her age might have helped inspire something like the huge siren synth that blares through "Music." (It sounds almost ridiculous the first time you hear it, and it'll wreak havoc on a dance floor.) If Floorplan practiced any restraint before, it's all gone on Victorious.
There isn't a second on this album when the Hoods don't sound like they're going for broke. "Good Thang," "Mm Hm" and "Ha Ya" are all simple and deadly workouts. Opener "Spin" dizzyingly repeats itself, while "The Heavens & The Earth" and "He Can Save You" are the rare sermon tracks that feel as feverish as a preacher at the pulpit. The organs on "The Heavens & The Earth" are an excellent touch—they sound charming and old, almost quaint, but they're backed up by thunderous kick drums. These are the feelings and sounds Hood only channels into Floorplan.
"Tell You No Lie" is another moment that feels particularly unguarded, and a major highlight. Essentially a disco edit of sorts, it breaks up the album's straight-as-an-arrow latter half with a welcome dose of funk. It's still backed by powerful, jacking kicks, but its guitar licks and soulful vocals provide a good dose of colour, as does the killer switch-up in the second half.
The second Floorplan album feels triumphant enough to bear the title Victorious. It's a stellar follow-up to Paradise, an album that brought even more followers to Hood's flock and helped make him a feel-good festival mainstay. The record is also proof that you don't need to constantly reinvent yourself to stay relevant. Though Floorplan's details and production values have changed since the project debuted in 1996, its nuts and bolts haven't. Hood is still the master of the minimalist dance track—whether he's making dark, loopy beats or life-affirming anthems.
03. The Heavens & The Earth
04. Good Thang
05. He Can Save You
06. Mm Hm Hm
07. Ha Ya
08. Tell You No Lie
09. Push On
10. They Can Tell
11. Sun In The Sky