Album Reviews

Groove Armada – GA10

(Columbia) UK release date: 12 November 2007

Groove Armada were always a kind of two-buttock family. On the one hand they could see you “baby, shakin’ that ass, shakin’ that ass” but they also knew that you were “fond of sand-dunes and salty air”. How to solve the dilemma on this hand-picked retrospective (from the vaults 1997 – 2007 ten years? See what they did there?)? Answer. One side to work that booty AND one side to unwind from excessive booty shakin’. As Royal Mail say, ‘Sorted’.

For those that know Groove Armada over their 10 year lifespan, funky house is their calling card and this collection captures the quality goods we have come to know and expect from Tom Findlay and Andy Cato. Their music has soundtracked many a hairdressing salon or tv style program due to their albatross of At The River achieving iconic status as the ubiquitous number one of the dreaded interest in all things musically ‘chill-out’, but don’t let that deter you.

Like fellow dance veterans Basement Jaxx, Groove Armada have always been interested in mixing up their influences from hip-hop, dance, reggae dancehall, ska, dub, electro and house music to whip up an accessible, good time funky alternative to the frantic Chemical Brothers or the righteous finger-pointing of Faithless

Taking a disc each to choose and mix splits the rump of funk straight down the middle, with one being �uptempo’ and two being �downtempo’. With a wealth of material to choose this set gathers previously unreleased rarities and remixes as well as the obligatory (and surprisingly excellent) �brand new tracks’.Love Sweet Sound being a disco-spangled beaut and Lightsonic being the spiritual twin of Superstylin featuring the same Mike Daniel (Aka MAD) on its shifting slabs of electro vocoder progressions.

After losing their way commercially a few years back, this year’s re-energised Soundboy Rock album with its dancehall-frenetic lead Get Down (featuring the ragga-scat-tastic Stush) and the chart-friendly Song 4 Mutya (featuring the ex-Sugarbabe) heralded an excellent return to form on (both of which feature here) as they embraced the rush and innocence of eighties electro and good old-fashioned pop sensibilities.

If anything this album can be summed up by the quality of the guest vocalists featured. So whether it’s the sampled Patti Page(wisely appearing as a ghostly echo in radically remixed form on the usually all-too-familiar At The River)Sandy Denny(Remember) the chicken-voiced Shara Nelson(on deep house-shuffle Cuba)Neneh Cherry (Think Twice) Candi Staton and Richie Haven(on the sublime Hands of Time).

There’s no radical change of direction here. Nothing to convert the uninitiated. Just a compilation of the best bits of Groove Armada split into two classily mixed sides of smooth, tasteful funky house to soundtrack life, work and play. And who isn’t fond of �shakin’ their ass in the sand-dunes and salty air’?

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More on Groove Armada
Groove Armada – Edge Of The Horizon
Groove Armada @ Brixton Academy, London
Groove Armada – Black Light
Groove Armada @ Coronet, London
Groove Armada – GA10