Short Stay at the Super8

Super8 & Tab
Empire
Anjunabeats [UK] / iTunes
CD / MP3
Release date: 09 13 10

I want to post this quick review before the next mega-comp comes out (this Tuesday, to be exact). Usually, trance records aren’t signposts. This record, however, is a metaphor for the direction that the label has gone in over the last three years. Gone are the cutting edge records like Stephen J. Kroos’ ‘Formalistick’, having been replaced by this, the oft-saccharine vibe of Super8 & Tab’s debut, ‘Empire’.

The duo, known mainly for their impressive string of trance bombs, become the next Anjuna act to step up for a full-length. It features a slab of vocal collaborators and proves to be a safe, predictable outing. Jan Burton turns in the most consistent vox but recalls the vocal performance on Above & Beyond’s 2006 smash ‘Alone Tonight’ by Richard Bedford and making me feel like this has all been done before. The cuts on this record that really bring the euphoric, dance-while-I’m trying-to-drive vibe are essentially instrumentals, most of which are already old: lead-single ‘Black Is The New Yellow’ which features a great unintelligible vocal at the end as a counter-harmony that just wraps up the track so nicely, 2009’s jam ‘Irufushi’, edited here to album length, new track ‘Bliss’ which is criminally short and the exclusive-to-iTunes bonus track ‘Helektra’. For the uninformed, the latter is a mashup of old singles ‘Helsinki Scorchin’’ and ‘Elektra’ driven to great effect, a fabulous closer.

This album is good enough, but offers no surprises. There’s really no ‘wow’ factor. It’s no ‘Larry Mountains 54’. It’s not even Who.Is ‘We.Are’. We’re not breaking any new ground here. Anjuna was the de facto vanguard of big-room dance music and now it feels like McTrance. I see the new comp ‘10 Years of Anjunabeats’ at an artistic fork in the road. Will they evolve? Will I still care? 6/10

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