Perhaps the most appropriately-titled dance album of the year, Pick Me Up, Sort Me Out, Calm Me Down, Joshua Harvey’s first studio album under the name of Hervé, is as hyperactive and restless as you’d expect from an artist who changes his moniker seemingly on a daily basis.
The man also known as Young Lovers, Action Man and Voodoo Chilli, one-half of London electro duo The Count & Sinden and member of DJ super-group Machines Don’t Care hasn’t strayed too far from the bass-heavy sound associated with his variety of guises on this high-octane collection of speaker-blowing tracks.
It’s an approach he gets down to a tee on “Return Of The Living Dead (Zombies 2),” a cleverly sinister fusion of acidic techno, warped industrial effects and horror movie samples, which sounds like a George Romero soundtrack as remixed by The Prodigy; and the equally playful “Glooming,” a suitably frenetic opener which combines stinging basslines and old-school hip-hop beats with some synth-strings that appeared to have escaped from a Sonic The Hedgehog game.
But far too often, Herve makes the obligatory demonic dub wobble the centre of attention, particularly on the bleep-laden “Let’s Make It Better Together” and woozy old-school rave of “Blamalama,” both of which sound like little more than Skrillex leftovers. While elsewhere, the emo-tinged “Show Me The Light” and the Frankmusik-sung “Better Than A BMX” sail dangerously close to the brainless hands-in-the-air Europop of David Guetta and LMFAO.
The album only really comes into its own when it adheres to the third command in its title. “BMX Bike In June” is a gorgeous Balearic instrumental which recalls the blissful chillout of Way Out West, “Night Turns Into Day” is an authentic 90s Italo house pastiche lent an air of sophistication by the ethereal soprano vocals of Charlotte Benardout, while penultimate track, “The Mirror,” a collaboration with former Beta Band frontman Steve Mason, echoes the delightfully melancholic electro of X-Press 2 and David Byrne’s “Lazy.”
Hervé has built a career on throwing everything but the kitchen sink into his music, but Pick Me Up, Sort Me Out, Calm Me Down suggests that he’d be better off leaving a few more fixtures and fittings behind.
2.5 stars (out of five)