REVIEW-X-press 2 The House of X-press 2

On first hearing this instantly took me back to 1988 and the looping Italio frenzy of Sueno Latino – taking the duo somewhat back to their roots? A real strong opener to a house long player and usually a hard decision of what to put first – something a bit slower and not as in your face or build it up throughout the album a bit more? So they didnt opt for the subtle beginning hence starting with a real solid track featuring vocals from Hannah Scanlon, lead singer of indie group Dolls and the Kicks. I really do like it when artists cross-over and do something outside their comfort zone. The vocal fits the songs very well and is a real strong start to the album.

More solid house beats and another real groove starting to get going right from the start. This is already starting to sound like a classic album after only two tracks. Really tight programming on the drums and percussion with it building up with some synths and vocal snippets – I can just imagine being in some sweaty American house club at 5am with this pounding out. A little nod to the stuff they were making back in the mid-90’s but that’s a GOOD thing and not a bad thing!

Pumping bassline from the outset and then the vocal from Roland Clark kicks in. Personally I still cant make my mind up whether I actually like Roland’s voice or not!? (I can sorta accept most female vocals but when it comes to the male voice I seem to be a bit more picky!) In this track Roland’s voice doesn’t grate on me as much as previous songs he has sung on. The bassline continues throughout and is relentless – a bit of piano creeps in a bit later but this also gets quite funky as it progresses – stick with it and dont let my male vocal comments put you off! It’s quite a nice touch when THAT bassline disappears for a bit then makes a welcome return. Yep loving this track aswell.

Deep underground groove and more solid drums…..leading upto vocals from Rob Harvey (from previous track Kill 100) This track is quite subdude and takes a good three minutes before it starts to go anywhere. The precussion picks up, bass gets louder and subtly it all starts to grow and get larger, darker and deeper! I don’t want to dis this at all but the bassline is reminiscent of the speed garage from the late 90’s (which is a good thing in my books!) Decent enough album track but can’t see this one setting the dancefloors alight unless with some serious remix treatment!

From here on in the slightly darker vibe changes and takes it more in a carnival direction. Much more of a latin percussive upbeat track going on here. Yep this is the first track so far to get me moving! Lots of filter action going on and could really see this one causing damage on the dancefloors. (No I don’t want to hear this played as an intro song on ITV’s Take Me Out!)

Picking up the pace again and sounding like the most obvious choice of track to release as a commerical single – sounds very contemporary and 2012! Featuring great vocals from James Yuill where Wikipedia describe him as an “English folktronica musician” This track has it all!

More solid drums and housey affair (what else would you expect? lol) Hints of Goodmen style drums thrown in for good measure and some squelchy synths and relentless basslines! Second track to get me dancing….ok im just nodding my head whilst i’m writing this review! I reckon this track is going to be so large in 2012 – this has club hit written all over it! I wanted it to go on longer than it actually did!

Originally thought this was Sophie Ellis Bextor turning up on vocal duties on my first hearing OOOPS – but instead it is actually Amber Jolene. Her website says she often gets mistaken for Tracey Thorn (sorry Amber I dont think so!) This track is fine for an album track but it doesnt really move me at all. One of the weaker tracks on here but still nothing particularly wrong with it but as the rest of the standard is so high i’m being uber-critical! PS the word-play on the title put me off from the start!

Ah that’s better – normal service has been resumed – back to the thumping pounding beats and bassline with a little bit of help from Tim Deluxe. This is more like it – right up my street and as ‘hands in the air’ as X-press 2 get! Sending tingles down my neck on this one. I love simple vocals with snippets, gatoring, echo, reverb etc. Taking me back to sweaty club time and when that percussion kicks in – whoooaaa!!! 🙂 🙂 This is what the guys do the best!!!

Ah some great sounding analogue-type sounds next. Mmmmmmm nice satisfying bass and a welcome return to a legendary vocalist Alison Limerick. A really natural sounding vocal. A much more relaxed vibe but it was definately needed after the last few tracks! Not over-produced this one but nice and simple – slightly reminscent of The Aloof-Purity (only a little mind!)

Lyrically featuring Roland Clark again but it sounds more like Barry White or someone. This is spoken rather than sung and is quite deep and chugging along quite nicely. Could easily be on a Danny Tenaglia album this! Quite progressive sounding and it’s got the nod-factor!

And the final track of the album – is it going to be a slower affair or another full an assault and final thumping farewell? The beats begin and I can’t decide where it’s going……then the pumping bass kicks in! Oh yes they are relentless it IS a full on assault to the end! YIKES! The heads going already. Ah loving this – synths, vocal snippets, piano stabs and vocal drops! (I don’t know what that means either but when you hear the track you will understand!)

I’ve been a househead all my life and really thought that people weren’t making decent house tracks, or albums even, anymore but Rocky and Diesel have totally proved me wrong!

It maybe a simple formula but it’s a formula that works and whereas a lot of previous dance albums have used the same trick throughout – this album does really have the variety and keeps loyal to the origins of house music whilst bringing it bang upto date with just a small nod to some of the sounds and tweakery available in 2012.

I can’t wait to see which tracks they choose to release and even moreso can’t wait to hear the remixes and other people’s version of these fantastic tracks! This is being filed amongst my top 5 house long players alongside Deep Dish, Danny Tenaglia, Armand and Daft Punk.

PS Don’t forget this should be available at Beatport and online retailers like HMV.

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