Album Reviews

SG Lewis – AudioLust & HigherLove

(PMR / EMI) UK release date: 27 January 2023

The producer’s follow-up to Times is a classy set of tunes with well chosen guests and a concept around the central theme of love

SG Lewis – AudioLust & HigherLove Dance music and pop music are a winning combination right now, and SG Lewis is better at combining the two than most. Debut album Times is two years old, but still sounds freshly minted – until you hear the follow-up, that is. For Lewis is continuing his emergence from behind the decks, emerging as a producer integrating dance and pop with no loss to either camp, and writing for all manner of guest artists without losing his identity.

His second album is a concept around the central theme of love. The first part, AudioLust, documents a night out and all the quick fixes that go with it, dancing the night away with no break in the action. HigherLove, meanwhile, turns for home as the sun comes up, looking to capture the comedown from the highs of the night out as thoughts turn mellow. A familiar concept it might be, but in Lewis’s hands it works really well. Here is a classy set of tunes capturing the mood with familiar instrumental techniques, but in his hands they rise well above average with slick production and memorable lyrical soundbites.

The guests are well chosen, too. Tove Lo hits the middle of the dancefloor square on with Call On Me. Lewis’s lyrical prowess is revealed in the Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs collaboration, Oh Laura. The lush textures promise warmth and good feelings, but the message is anything but, as the betrayal at the heart of a relationship is bluntly exposed. “You might think that you know me and how things are going to be, but I’ve been watching you closely and you’ve got no future with me”.

Elsewhere, Fever Dreamer is an enjoyably moody cut, with spoken word from Channel Tres and vocals from Charlotte Day Wilson, while Infatuation has some of the fuzzy dreaminess Empire Of The Sun have done so well. Holding On is effortless poolside house, fit for purpose in any Mediterranean resort, while Another Life is similarly strong. Missing You – whose title implies the mellow side of the night – turns out to be a straight-up banger. Best of all is Lifetime, an ultra-cool mid-tempo cut that proves Lewis to be a fine vocalist in his own right, whether in the solo verse or the densely layered chorus.

The extended Epiphany is a nice bridge between the album’s two halves. Largely an instrumental, with warm waves of colour, it contains a telling aside that ‘love at first sight is nothing but infatuation’.

It is easy to see these songs being used as a soundtrack for Love Island and the like, for Lewis has made some perfect pool party fodder with lush keyboards, full bodied bass and cool, layered vocals typified by the likes of Another Life. Yet he should not be restricted to that, for a journey through the album shows he can operate in several dimensions.

It is arguably one or two songs too long, but otherwise AudioLust & HigherLove is a strong pop music record – disposable, yes, but with a songwriting sensibility and deep house production that means it works on several levels. The promise of warmth and good times is wholly fulfilled – and Lewis reveals himself to be the thinking listener’s equivalent to Calvin Harris.

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SG Lewis – AudioLust & HigherLove
SG Lewis – times