Having previously released material on Fatboy Slim’s Southern Fried Records label, London producer Fake Blood was widely rumoured to be yet another alias of Mr Norman Cook himself when a number of his tracks were debuted back in 2008.
The man behind the pseudonym is in fact Theo Keating, formerly one half of 90s breakbeat duo The Wiseguys, now one half of The Black Ghosts. But judging by his debut album, Cells, it’s difficult to understand the mistaken identity.
Indeed, there’s little of the inventiveness here that defined the likes of You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby. For this is no-nonsense, no-frills, straight-to-the-point electro, designed purely to be blasted out at house parties and bass-heavy club nights alike.
It’s quite the feat then that the majority of Cells’ eleven tracks manage to hammer you over the head without leaving any lasting marks. The arcade game electro of “Contact,” the migraine-inducing industrial techno of “Let It Go” and the chopped up early Daft Punk-esque “Airbrushed” are all as plodding as they are pointless. Meanwhile, the bizarre blend of kazoos and ambulance sirens on “Another World” and the Moroder-inspired “Sideshow” both feel like watered down copies of far superior songs, Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand” and Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” respectively.
The buoyant camp house of “All In The Blink” and the melodic nu-synth of “Soft Machine” offer a brief respite from the relentlessly bombastic production. But Cells only really raises above the level of mediocrity when Fake Blood tries to stake his claim as a horror film composer. Playful opener “Yes/No” intersperses its cheerleader chants with an eerie piano hook borrowed from John Carpenter’s The Fog score, whilst the sinister “London” rivals Brainbug’s “Nightmare” as the dance scene’s most haunting double bass-led instrumental.
More of this frightfest soundtrack in keeping with his Fake Blood moniker and Cells could have been a revelation. Instead, it’s a fairly joyless and pedestrian affair which lacks the spark to merit being mentioned in the same breath as his former boss.