- It's hard to criticise a label for being stuck in the past when that's precisely where they want to be. "I don't want anything that sounds pre-'85 or post-'94", said boss Andrew Butler before the launch of Mr. Intl two months ago. As the brains behind one of the most successful revival acts of recent years, Hercules & Love Affair, you're tempted to follow his lead when he says something like that. And while a resurgence of old-school house might not be particularly novel, you get the impression that in Butler's hands it'll at least be done well.
The label's second release, a combined effort between HLA member Kim Ann Foxman and Butler himself, unsurprisingly falls in line with expectations: The replicas are well-crafted, faithful to the self-imposed epoch-limit and melodically in tune with the stylings of the pair's main project. The 808 beats and Juno synth sounds spell out the intent, but these are more songs than straight tracks that come with A-B-chorus structures ushered by Foxman's customarily house diva vocals, which sound Technotronic-ally catchy in "What You Need" and more inviting of a dub on "Creature," whose Eastern-derivative, Gypsymen-style melody hook is the highlight.
Nostalgia fetishists Faze Action seem like perfect remixers for such a project and, fittingly, they turn "Creature" into a hi-hat-snare show festooned with synth pop chords and dance floor value. James Curd's reworking of "What You Need" harmonises well but the chosen sounds tend to move towards the garishly glossy, but if you're as diehard as Mr. Intl in your love of the '80s, that's hardly likely to bother you.
02. Creature (Faze Action Remix)
03. Creature (Faze Action Instrumental Dub)
04. What You Need
05. What You Need (James Curd Remix)