Release Date: 02.25.03
Record label: V2 / Sine Dance
by: matt cibula
It's still very very early in 2003, so I'm not going to go overboard here when I rate this album. Frankly, Puretone's first record isn't exactly perfect or anything. But I like it a lot, because it's fun to listen to, and because Josh Abrahams knows how to stitch together a smooth little quilt of a track. These 12 songs (plus one hidden bonus remix) are impeccably produced, laden with hooks, and sound great in the car.
But if you're expecting this to be a "dance" record just because the songs feature techno textures and a certain bass-based orientation, you'll be disappointed. This is a pop album dressed up in dancefloor clothing; most of the songs are collaborations between Abrahams, the primary groovemaker, and a few different lyricist/singers. Wise move, this: it takes the pressure off the main man, freeing him up to construct some kickin' tracks around three different people's lyrical and vocal styles.
To my ears, the most successful ones are written and sung by Amiel Daemion; her tracks "Addicted to Bass" and the title song are two of the most fun pop songs since the Bangles started to suck. Both songs are about the same subject: being so into music that your life and personal relationships suffer, but not really caring about that. (This theme, sadly, resonates with me.) But while "Addicted to Bass" is a bangin' faux UK garage track with two of the best hooks of the year, the latter is more melancholy and introspective, and utilizes one of the better "hey is the damned CD skipping no that's just the song okay then" moments I've ever heard. And the two versions of "Headroom" are nice too, but it's not Daemion's best song ever.
Less successful are the sappier songs written by Leigh Kenny and sung by Rhianna Kenny—I don't know who these people are or if they're related or even the same person or what, and I don't really care. "Keep On" and "Lift Me Up" are all inspirational and stuff, but they seem anemic next to the Kenny-written and –sung "Hypersensitive," a jazzy swing colored Downbeat Gold. I kind of like "Echoes," with words and singing by one Dianne Charlemagne (the names on these Aussie divas!), because it gets all dubby and technoey, but it's blown out of the water by "1 and 9," which is an instrumental acid jazz piece with real live horns and percussion and bass and stuff.
Does all this diversity of style ruin Stuck in a Groove? Well, sure, if you've got a huge stick up your butt. But those of us in the No-Stick Club don't mind, because we're too busy listening to what might end up as the fun dance-pop LP on a lot of people's year-end lists for 2003. 01-Feb-2003 11:44 AM