- The Allstars compilations have served as waymarkers on Night Slugs' winding path. Volume 1, released at the start of the label's life, was bursting with neon-coloured funky and grime hybrids. 2013's Volume 2 sounded more mature. The Club Constructions series existed by then, and the standout tracks were lean dance floor weapons like Bok Bok's "Silo Pass" and Helix's "Drum Track." Three years on, Volume 3 is all about soul. Which isn't to say that soulfulness—via '80s funk or '90s R&B—wasn't already part of Night Slugs' DNA. It's long sweetened the label's pungent club futurism, but on Allstars Volume 3 it's the dominant flavour, which is no bad thing.
A lot of this is down to a new recruit: keyboardist Sweyn Jupiter, who first surfaced on last year's "Papaya Lipgloss" with Bok Bok. He has no fewer than four credits, and while his solo production, "Throwback Thursday," doesn't leave much of an impression, his collaborations are all great. The mood is twinkling and beatific on "My Syrup," with Gang Fatale's Sheen, and "Unlimited," with Bok Bok, is a surprisingly good vehicle for Flirta D. He also works with the label co-founder on "Good 2 U," an extremely satisfying piece of modern R&B with vocalist Semma.
Other artists follow this lead. L-Vis 1990 gets in on the New Jack Swing action with the Ronika-featuring "Sweet Spot," one of the best things he's made in a while. Helix's "Funky 1irst" is as hyperactive as usual, but a strings-and-congas disco sample gives it a jaunty edge. Girl Unit's "Queen B" softens its panicked synth tones with a jazzy B-section, and his contribution as Hysterics, a "VIP" version of last year's "Empty," is even more soothing.
Night Slugs has always been a diverse crew, and there are tracks that complicate this mood. DJC repeats the slow-mo club bomb formula of their Club Constructions pack, and Ikonika delivers the jittery "Stick Shaker." Neana's infectious UK funky hybrid "Cyberia" could have come from an earlier stage of Night Slug's development, though it doesn't sound outdated. Jam City, who—with his pop makeover—delivered the label's biggest recent curveball, remains unique on "Direct Drums," a steel-clad chugger with a gorgeous, redemptive climax.
01. DJC - C100
02. Ikonika - Stick Shaker
03. Hysterics - Empty VIP
04. NA - Ecstasy Edit
05. Bok Bok & Sweyn Jupiter - Good 2 U feat. Semma
06. Girl Unit - Queen B
07. Jam City - Direct Drums
08. Sweyn Jupiter - Throwback Thursday
09. Helix - Funky 1irst
10. Neana - Cyberia
11. L-Vis 1990 - Sweet Spot feat. Ronika
12. Sheen & Sweyn Jupiter - My Syrup
13. Bok Bok & Sweyn Jupiter - Unlimited feat. Flirta D