UK duo SpectraSoul are one of the most reliable drum & bass outfits of recent years, pumping out single after single of melodic-but-not-too-pop, ultra-polished beats for labels like Critical, Exit and Shogun. The latter is just now gearing up to release their debut album, and the first taste of it shows them mining the most accessible, glossy territory of their careers.
They do it well. Like most of their catalogue, "Light in the Dark" is executed with finesse and style—aluminum-light drums are grounded by a buzzing bassline that growls but never quite roars, leaving plenty of breathing room for cinematic strings that swoop and twirl like paper streamers. Terri Walker (of "Heartbeat" fame) is drafted in for an anxious but soulful vocal, breathy gasps and nuanced phrasing unperturbed by the snapping drums, working nearly as well as a pop song as it does a drum & bass tune. On the flipside, "Shackled" is less concerned with the elegant phrasing of "Light," featuring hard-hitting drums that shatter into loose globs of amen breaks at the end of the bars and gruff verses from Fox. The combustible bassline plays the same dynamic role those strings did on "Light in the Dark," striking an odd sort of grey-skies anthemia that should relieve those worried about a full-on pop assault from the duo.
Buy SpectraSoul - Light in the Dark at
Tracklist: SpectraSoul - Light in the Dark A Light In The Dark feat. Terri Walker
B Shackles feat. Fox