Drums Of Death, aka Colin Bailey from Oban in Scotland, recently declared that his debut album would be full of “love songs and rave horns”. It’s certainly been a long time coming, and follows extensive remix work for an assortment of artists such as Peaches as well as reworkings of songs by Franz Ferdinand, Tricky and Hot Chip. He can also add a couple of his own singles on the Greco-Roman label to his portfolio to date.
Generation Hexed is his first LP, and it should please those who have followed his work and hopefully earn him many more followers. There is no subtlety of any sort on this record, but this is only a good thing; there are some thumping tunes on offer. He leans close to the euphoric stylings of ’90s dance, but throughout the record are assorted influences from all over the place: the artists he’s remixed, various sub-genres of dance music and much else besides.
It fires up with the ambient Karaoke, but the piece barely lasts two and a half minutes, and it isn’t long until Science & Reason blares out of the speakers with an in-your-face attitude that dominates for the remainder of the record. Everything All At Once has a fizzing synth that will delight the eardrums and Creak is a stunningly powerful mid-album instrumental that should be a sure-fire dancefloor hit. Modern Age and London Teeth also have an infectious enthusiasm about them.
There are quieter moments too, as promised. Album closer Voodoo Lovers still maintains the euphoria and energy but places it against tinkling piano and a smattering of strings. A couple more of these to give the record some balance would be welcome, but this is only a minor quibble. More problematic is the lack of much that sounds in any way fresh; much ground is covered, but Drums Of Death aren’t doing anything especially new.
That said, what ultimately makes Generation Hexed so much fun is that, as Bailey claims, “love songs and rave horns” co-exist in perfect harmony, even if the end result could use more of the former. When Drums Of Death isn’t being all slushy, it delivers brash, loud techno stompers. It’s not perfect, but practically everything expected of a dance record is here.