Album Reviews

Faze Action – Stratus Energy

(Faze Action) UK release date: 18 May 2009


Any of you paying close attention to the career of Faze Action will know that for a brief while they effectively renounced disco, preferring instead to write music with a soulful slant.

Cultivated though it was, this didn’t quite suit the duo, reigning in their instincts for a more flamboyant approach that has led them to flirt frequently with African, Latin and Brazilian music. So it is with great aplomb that they return to their first love, in an album that ranks alongside debut Plans And Designs as their best long player so far.

It’s a testament to the brothers Lee and their enthusiasm for music that they sound just as fresh on their fourth album as they did on their first, 12 years ago. Hypnotic harks back to that sound with its slower beat and untempered string sound.

Yet it’s the quicker music that makes the best impression here, and you could hardly ask for more than opener Goodlovin gives, with a solid house beat, catchy vocal hook and a bass that invites you to swing your hips.

The good vibes spread far and wide, through the equally catchy Starship – that bass again – to the similarly galactic title track. Meanwhile I Wanna Dancer, the best vocal track on the album, ups the camp quotient with its irresistible chorus.

What really wins on this album is the pair’s continued insistence on the use of live instruments. There’s a pleasingly raw edge to the string sound when violins and cellos are used, while the brass bray with a sharp ring, and the bass, elastic throughout, proves equally difficult to resist.

Weightless offers a brief time at the bar with its ambient string textures, the edges smoothed this time, but Keep It Coming rounds things off with more energetic disco, and the guarantee is you’ll be pressing play once more.

If anything this album might well be the finest Faze Action have yet put together. Granted it doesn’t have anything quite as anthemic as In The Trees, from the first album, or Moving Cities, from its successor, but the sheer conviction and wide-eyed smile of its feelgood vibe wins you over. Their return to the dancefloor is clearly a cause for celebration.


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Faze Action – Stratus Energy


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