Part studio effort, part remix album and part compilation, the hodgepodge new release from Andy Cato and Tom Findlay, a.k.a. British electronic duo Groove Armada, sounds like a curious affair on paper; but sadly Little Black Book is far less intriguing in reality.
Indeed, following on from British DJ Hot Since ‘82’s debut, the second installment of the Moda Black series is likely to test the patience of even the pair’s most hardened fans, with its 34-track two-disc collection of new material, lesser-known existing cuts and reworkings clocking in at over four hours.
Little Black Book’s mammoth running time wouldn’t be such a problem had Groove Armada rediscovered the sense of adventure that once had them rivalling Basement Jaxx as the dance world’s most colourful party-starting duo. However, every single one of the eight new tracks that appear here stick to the same monotonous formula of classic house beats, synths bursts and soulful vocal loops, with only the tropical flavour of “Push” and the acid flourishes of “Call Me (Dub)” making any notable impression.
Despite a stellar line-up of guest producers, the second disc of remixes follows a similarly generic pattern, with the Joris Voorn version of “Superstylin’,” the Walker & Royce Meltdown Mix of “Get Down” and the Hauswerks retooling of Groove Armada’s signature hit “I See You Baby” all removing the element of chaos that made the originals bonafide classics.
Little Black Book does have its moments – the glorious cinematic breakbeat of “Paris,” the playful Club Mix of “Sweat” and their inspired cover of Arthur Baker’s “Rockers Revenge” – but these are all available elsewhere, and only confirm that the material surrounding them isn’t up to Groove Armada’s usual high standard. One for completists only.
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