- One gets the sense that Toronto's Kevin McPhee has a hard time sitting still. Despite its best efforts to evoke a certain laidbackness, McPhee's tunes—perfectly up-to-the-minute post-dubstep burners—have a difficult time not fidgeting, as if they can't contain their excitement. Thus far, it's been infectious: on "Get In With You," McPhee's debut from earlier this year, the excess energy found plenty of room to roam around inside a stepping beat.
Now moving into more or less into straight house territory with a new 12-inch for Bristol 4/4 agitators Idle Hands, McPhee tries to capture the simmering, murky vibe that's simultaneously made Actress and Kassem Mosse outsiders and favorites within house music. A big part of what makes tunes in this vein work is that their busyness congeals into a kind of thick, sticky substance that seeps into the track's empty spaces. On Sleep / House 44, McPhee has all the right ingredients but never quite forms a unified haze. "Sleep" has the strolling pace, Tin Man ambience and woozy chords down pat, but his cut-up vocal—a vestige of his bassy roots—makes cramped what should feel expansive. "House 44" is full of nice touches (that tiny piano hit just before the downbeat for example), but each is just a bit too crispy in its own right. With every little drum pulling the track along its own axis, it never quite goes anywhere. McPhee certainly has the enthusiasm; now, it's just a matter of how and where to channel it.
B House 44