Booka Shade’s third album The Sun And The Neon Light saw them shifting attention from the club to the big screen, with some intimate writing for strings and keyboards offering proof of their versatility, as well as their suitability for soundtrack offers.
More! finds them returning emphatically to the club – and good as the previous album was, it’s clear this is the environment that brings out their best work. This is a lean, mean, fighting machine of an album, full of killer without the filler as it peels back the layers to reveal chrome-plated bass lines and tough beats done medium to rare.
There are just two vocal contributions, but they are the cornerstones of the record, with regular collaborator Chelonis R Jones contributing to the heady rush of Bad Love, and Yello‘s Dieter Meier sounding like a disembodied alien in his vocal part for Divine. Before these are some taut, finely crafted instrumentals, with the single Donut setting the early pace and the tough house music of 7 and 8 flexing its muscles.
What also impresses greatly on this record is the duo’s sense of structure and conviction, for they know exactly when to tighten the nut on the kick drum, and when to pull back for a breakdown. This sense of tension and release goes all the way back to when they were first DJing in the early 1990s, and some of the broad blocks of chords reference that period to good effect as well.
Musically we are pitched somewhere between house and techno, but all the way through there is a strongly human element, as if we are taking in one continuous live set. Crucially none of the tracks are too long, so that the beats never let up, and when the album finishes you’ll be more than happy to go round again. It’s that strong.
So this is a case of less most definitely being More!, as Booka Shade return to doing what they do best. There is little doubt they will be soundtrack composers in the years to come, but this is their bread and butter, and makes for an extremely impressive addition to an already formidable canon. Just make sure you catch them in the flesh this summer, as they have added an all conquering live show to their armoury, putting them right at the forefront of Berlin’s rhythm makers.