- There is a lot to be said about longevity, especially in the dance music world. On one hand, it can be synonymous with experience and commanding artistry; on the other, it can also be associated with staleness. In that regard, Booka Shade's fourth studio album, the blandly titled More!, might suggest the superfluous addition of new material to an imposing but uneven body of work, an impression that is only enhanced by the anything-will-do nature of the artwork. In other words, one wonders if they have started to truly run out of ideas.
These peripheral, extra musical details shouldn't detract anyone from the fact Booka Shade are still a genuinely relevant venture, and More! a satisfying return to form. Right from the start, "Havana Sex Dwarf" imposes a more playful vibe than on their last offerings with the kind of mischievous synths you usually find on Dirtybird releases: Musically, it does the kind of seedy deeds the very title evokes, and it's a humorous move that suits Arno and Walter quite well. "Donut (Interpretation)," their most recent collaboration with fellow Get Physical chums M.A.N.D.Y., might have been overlooked when it was released as a single a few months ago—let's face it, it's no "Body Language Part 2"—but in its shorter, tighter form, its charm is obvious.
"Teenage Spaceman" and "Scaramanga" are the album's two instrumental zeniths. The former titillates for three whole minutes before a buzzing electronic pad kicks in to full venting effect a la "In White Rooms," while the later opts for subdued, captivating tones. Instead of taking charge of the singing themselves like they did with watery results on The Sun & The Neon Light, Booka Shade have also recruited Chelonis R. Jones and Yello's Dieter Meier on vocal duties. Jones' voice is an acquired taste, both soulful and sometimes jarring. That said, it's hard to deny the fact he has the kind of timeless presence we used to find on vintage Chicago house cuts: His performance on "Bad Love" has a reverential warmth, if slightly affected and overdone. Meier is an even more daring choice, but it's a redemption-inducing one. With the help of fellow Yello member/oddball Boris Blank, the Swiss maestros bring their darker edge to "Divine," creating a spooky slice of electro pop that isn't that far away from their own "Crash Dance."
It seems most people experience Booka Shade's music through their relentless touring nowadays, and this new album has obviously been designed with its live show in mind. (It's their bounciest, meatiest, most upfront release since Movements.) Even with this obvious focus, however, it's a surprisingly dependable album from a duo that still knows how to cover new ground, even if that ground is in their own backyard.
01. Havanna Sex Dwarf
02. Donut (Interpretation)
04. The Door
05. Teenage Spaceman
06. Divine (feat. Yello)
08. L.A. tely
09. Bad Love (feat. Chelonis R. Jones)
10. No Difference
11. This Is Not Time