- The debut release from Melbourne's Rogue Traders, We Know What You're Up To, shows us what they've been up to of late and what has been influencing them production wise. All genres of house - banging, progressive, funky, garage and incorporating a little bit of breaks and electro in the mix as well.
The first track To be Someone is a banging house tune introduced by a solo guitar before ripping into the house beats with James Ash's vocals on top. I didn't really get into their cover of INXS' Need You Tonight, renamed here into One Of My Kind, when they released it as a single, however it seems to fit quite well into the overall track flow of the album. So it makes a bit of sense looking at things in the big picture as well.
Overload moves into 80's electro/electroclash along the lines of Le Rhythmes Digitale with Melinda on vocals who also appeared on their tight debut single Give In To Me which thnkfully gets included into the album as well. Highly danceable and has a little bit of mainstream appeal.
Make it Better features the ragga vocals of MC Rudeboy on top of a funky ragga house number, similar to Basement Jaxx. Rudeboy then appears alongside MC Bobby Mileage on the part punk, part UK Garage and probably the highlight tune of the album Revolution - anyone who's heard what the Audio Bullys are doing (mixing up punk, house, garage, hip hop, breakbeat,etc) will get into this.
James Ash showcases his vocal talents again on Stay a slighty more tripped out house tune with excessive use of the vocoder. On Broken he sings alongside Melinda on top of a very rapid and stomping tech beat with even more use computer generated vocals. Finally he appears on the finale - Lift This Planet - an uplifting piano laden tune, featuring the words of Maurice White from 70's/80's disco group, Earth Wind & Fire. Reminiscent of Jon Cutler & E-Man's It's Yours.
After showing us what she can do on Give In To Me, singer Melinda Richards shows us that she's got vocal talent and also appears on the deep housey Golden and the downtempo acid jazz groove of Take It Deeper - on a similar tip to Young Disciples, Incognito and Brand New Heavies.
Overall this is a enjoyable album and easy to listen to - it has mainstream appeal to it. Nevertheless, it was enough to grab my attention - a hardened breakbeat freak - to sit up and have a good listen.