Groove Armada, Black Light
Groove Armada prove that menace is the move
Ever find yourself stop mid-booty shake halfway through "I See You Baby (Shaking That Ass)" and start wondering if party-starters supreme Groove Armada ever had a dark side? It turns out they do, and they've let it roam all over their sixth studio album, Black Light. It's clear from confrontationally-titled opener "Look Me in the Eye Sister" onward that this is no carefree summertime record. With track titles like the Joy Division-aping "Warsaw" and "I Won't Kneel," and with most of the LP recorded with live drums and guitars, it's clear that groove has been superseded by growl.
Grungy, scuzzy synth chords splatter the album — most noticeably on the ominous 'Warsaw,' which combines the subsonic frequencies of Goose with the aggressive vocal approach of Basement Jaxx's "Where's Your Head At?" "Not Forgotten," meanwhile, spits Prodigy-like venom.
That's not to say the album lacks lighter moments. "Just For Tonight" has all the lush instrumentation and gentle surge of classic Fleetwood Mac; "Cards To Your Heart" recalls the Human League, and the Armada can't resist ramping up the BPM for the giddy "Time & Space".
. As with 2007's Soundboy Rock, Groove Armada are rounded out by a series of guest vocalists. Bryan Ferry lends his whispered croon to the haunting "Shameless," Will Young closes proceedings with "History" and Pnau/Empire Of The Sun mainman — and erstwhile Elton John collaborator — Nick Littlemore graces the album with several appearances.
The band have said the album is meant to reflect that 5 a.m. feeling, when the party's over and the fear sets in. In truth, the party's still raging on Black Light, and the Armada are alone at its center, fighting off their creeping dread as best they can on the dance floor.