- Usually, when a certain imprint is labelled as "cool" or "in vogue," it tends to turn me off rather than interest me, Kitsune and Wolf and Lamb being two recent examples. Maybe it's because I think the focus will be on things other than the music, like bandwagons perhaps, or just being seen. Once I get over this, though, I often discover that the music is actually rather good. No Regular Play and Shaun Reeves both have Wolf and Lamb releases in the bag, and Art Department aren't too many links away in the musical lexicon either. This release gives me a further reason to be a bit more open-minded and less cynical about this sort of stuff, though, as its generally laidback and quirky in a fun way, but smooth and idiosyncratic at the same time.
The original "Serious Heat," for example, combines a wonky set of pastel melodies like a dozy deflation of a synth in the background, an off-the-beat, elephantine bass riff, a tongue-in-cheek falsetto vocal loop and gentle, chordy whomping later on. There's muted trumpets too. "Walkin (Next to Me)" is slightly more serious, more suitable for shiny bars where the dress is classy and the cocktails expensive. It's still wholeheartedly chilled, though; the keyboard riff that plays over the smooth, liquid bass sounds a bit like it's made by a child hitting notes at random.
After Art Department's moody debut "Without You" earlier this year was rightly adored, many will be looking forward to hearing what they've done here, and they probably won't be disappointed. Ethereal and deep azure, it sits halfway between a cool late-night club groove and a deep, astral beach experience—or maybe firmly in both—with more trumpets, a soloing organ and a masterful floppy bass that lollops serenely but proudly. Shaun Reeves' remix is nice, but not as inspired as the rest of what's here: It's a bit off-key but bland in comparison. The vocal is straightforwardly repeated through the second half without much fuss. Overall though, this single is good evidence for the argument that music can be both chic and skilled.
A1 Serious Heat
A2 Serious Heat (Art Department Remix)
B1 Walkin (Next to Me)
B2 Walkin (Next to Me) (Shaun Reeves Remix)