6/8 isn’t a well-loved time signature in modern electronic music, largely absent apart from some naff big room tracks and Disclosure’s Latch. So when Crooked Man’s new album has three songs in 6/8, it’s striking enough to evoke a simile about the frequency of buses.
Crooked House is pushing the boundaries of 2016’s eponymous debut, incorporating more poppy sounds into his blend of house music, and this is most apparent on the surreal opening track Every Killer Needs A Friend. A jaunty tune about committing murder for attention, the disconnect between the pleasant chords and the lyrical content is jarring but very entertaining.
A more traditional, though no less enjoyable, track is Walls, with its piano-house vibes recalling his previous song Happiness and a heavy bassline setting off the track nicely. His production skills are on point as ever, whether it’s the shimmering synths of lead single Take It All Away or the Todd Edwards-style patchwork of samples that opens Echo Loves Narcissus. Indeed, the latter leaves the biggest impression on the album featuring brassy chords and wordless lyrics that create a subtly euphoric effect.
Crooked Man has no problem with dealing in nostalgia, and some of the sounds on the record are a little dated but not self-consciously so. This is comfy house, separate from the imposing drops of modern EDM while remaining more tasteful than deep house has become.
The last track, Robots, is a mellow tune about the problems facing Western society (“robots taking our jobs… we’re living much longer with more time to squander”). Repeated bass notes and puffy offbeat chords loop before fading out into silence, ending a varied album that shows some interesting artistic developments: highly recommended for fans of house music.