Lynx & Kemo's 'The Raw Truth' reviewed

29 April 2009 - , ,

Vocal albums are relatively rare in Drum & Bass and have also been executed with varying degrees of success; so it was with a degree of trepidation that I put ‘The Raw Truth' on. Released on Marcus Intalex's Soul:R record label, there was a certain level of quality control assured but could the duo extend the chemistry that was so obvious on their first releases and apply it to a full length album?

The answer to that is a resounding yes. ‘The Raw Truth' is a fantastic album with a level of originality only hinted at in earlier releases.

The mood is set from the opening track of ‘Camera' with Kemo's distinctive baritone vocals proving as important to the album as Lynx's instrumental backing.­ As the album progresses through the polyrhythmic ‘Tribes' and beatless vocal track ‘Glass Jaw' towards the 140bpm title track, the quality of Lynx's production puts rest to the myth that song-writing and "vibes" need to be sacrificed in the pursuit of technical excellence. The album stands apart from most modern Drum & Bass (and music in general) by eschewing the favoured ‘Wall of Sound,' focusing instead on the grooves that emerge when beats are left sparse. While the album initially seems to be quite simple musically, repeated listens reveal layer upon layer of detailed orchestration and percussion. With well used collaborations from Manchester's Soul:R stalwart DRS to Lithuanian hip hop group Bango Collective, and even New Zealand's own Tali, who provides vocals on one of the standout tracks of the album (and in my opinion, of her career) on ‘The Real Thing', it is clear that the album is significantly more than a collection of singles.

Notable tracks include the aforementioned ‘The Real Thing,' ‘Dangerous' with Alix Perez, which has been doing damage on the DJ circuit for months and especially ‘Deez Breaks' a chronicle of the history of Drum & Bass music with many vocal and musical nods to the classics, produced in conjunction with Henree.

Out Thursday 30th April in all good record stores, this album is equally at home in a DJ's crate, on the home stereo or iPod and is almost assured future classic status.

The Raw Truth homepage

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