Angel City is a mystery. When you consider producers like Sash! had seemingly cornered the market for throwaway pop/dance in the mid 1990s, it seems odd that a very similar kind of throwaway music should be successful now. Or does it? Sash! used to rub shoulders in the charts with all manner of Britpop bands, and they haven’t exactly disappeared from our consciousness either.
Mind you, what they would give to have an album whose track listing includes three top ten hits in its first four songs? That’s what comes of having a team of writers and producers responsible for hits from Sonique, Kylie and Dannii Minogue among others.
As you’d expect, heavily programmed synths and sequencers provide the staple diet, backing some good vocals from Lara McAllen, who has put her time as backing singer with Shakira to good use to come up with a voice that crosses over from club to radio effortlessly. Love Me Right (Oh Sheila), the best offering here, would grace any ‘dance hits’ compilation, the floating vocal a Friday night winner.
Even I Won’t Let You Down, which takes an immediately familiar chorus, is breathy and surprisingly well done. I’m not so sure about the UK chart topper Do You Know (I Go Crazy), taking Robert Miles‘ Children as its starting point – it’s undeniably catchy but tramples all over the original. Completing the opening quartet of commercial bankers is Sunrise, another grower with a big chorus.
So often albums of this type are completely let down from this point on, with little attention paid to the fillers, but Angel City’s attempts are by and large pretty successful, in particular the cool, funkier beats used in Back In Time, and the electro edges applied to City Lights, the most evocative atmosphere achieved on the record. The ubiquitous slow number is a mistake, however – the regretful and pleading tones of Stay take place over a beat that drags its heels interminably.
The abundance of covers means that the album is pretty safe on lyrical grounds, with few of the empty statements that characterise a lot of the pop-trance brigade, although couplets like “let me hear your voice when I’m calling you” sail a bit close to the wind.
Of course you’ll know to avoid this if you dislike the sort of dance music that appears on Top of the Pops, or are in to “real” instruments and songs with more personality, but if you like a bit of mozzarella flavoured dance music on the side, Love Me Right is an album it’s OK to like. No, really!