Friend Within – The Underground [Hypercolour]

Friend Within readies a bass potent EP which is set to be released on Hypercolour. The Liverpudlian started 2014 with a high-octane, two hour BBC Radio One Essential Mix using nothing but his own productions as ammo – quite an impressive roster when you consider his short-lived presence within the scene.

With the garage-house movement in full swing, layered synth stabs are of the order with The More however, there’s an element of surprise missing from this track. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this record, it’s gorgeously crafted and fit for purpose but there’s a lingering familiarity that borders on monotony. There isn’t a great deal that distinguishes The More from others within its genre and its pursuit of authenticity ends up feeling a little contrived.

Using similar bass sounds to The Renegade, this track is just as forgettable as the last. Since his debut in early 2013, I’ve been following Friend Within with a keen ear, but so far this EP is a tad disappointing. The style of using synchronous choppy bass prods and synth stabs with flourishing sweeps has been done before, and with greater effect. Celsius’ – Incoming sprang to mind as soon as I first heard this and on second listen, it’s almost a carbon copy of it.

This is more like the Friend Within sound we’ve become accustomed to – elastic, coarse basslines and sinister breakdowns lapse into classic 90′s rhythm and Jaymo and Andy George-like vocal samples. It’s swung just enough, with percolating claps and distinctive low-end hooks that reminded me with the reason I fell in love with dance music.

Taking centre stage is The Underground, with a queasy build-up, this one drops off into sections of tightly reverberating techno-like bass patterns and even peaks over the fence into acid. The vocals are manipulated with fervour and inject a well-received verve and character into the record. It’s easy to imagine the impact this record can have on a desolate dancefloor.

This EP has its shortcomings but there are snippets of genius (which are sometimes carelessly thrown in) that shine through.




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