Album Reviews

Grum – Heartbeats

(Heartbeats) UK release date: 24 May 2010

British electropop is in a healthy place at the moment, and riding on the back of its coat tails is Grum, a young producer and vocalist schooled in classic rock and synth pop in Edinburgh.

Perhaps inevitably that has led to comparisons with fellow Scots Mylo and Calvin Harris, both have shown an aptitude for updating the 1980s to the present day and adding an extra twist. Add to that the media’s current obsession for all things 1980s, and what time could be better for him to make his mark?

Heartbeats is a great way to start, and will certainly meet his floor filling ambitions, but it treads a fine line between creatively using its influences and sounding derivative. Can’t Shake This Feeling is a prime example, a great bit of power synth pop but one that sails just too close to comfort to the Madonna of Into The Groove and Holiday.

Like Harris, however, Grum has more than a few tricks up his sleeve. Listening to opener Through The Night is like being pitched into the middle of Pacha when Eric Prydz is playing, while the slick, coiffured Fashion has more than a hint of Nik Kershaw about it – McRhythms Digitales, perhaps?

Yet Grum gets away with wearing his influences on his sleeve, as the album runs through a series of powerful and uplifting nuggets that defy the listener to raise a smile. When the cutesy Heartbeats proclaims how “you could be my disco angel” the vocal is spot on, while Cybernetic is reminiscent of the Midnight Juggernauts, if ultimately lacking their raw power.

While we wait for the second Mylo album, then, Grum proves to be a more than satisfactory diversion, every bit as colourful as the cover of his record. Providing you leave musical preconceptions at the door on your way in to his club, you can be sure a night on the dancefloor awaits you.

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Grum – Heartbeats