"Hyph Mngo" was never going to be easy to follow up. Joy Orbison's scene-crossing and utterly ecstatic anthem was the closest thing that dance music in 2009 came to consensus, and while Peter O'Grady's output since then has been sparse in general, he's been conspicuously absent from the Hotflush schedule since that one and only release. But here he is, finally. Sort of. Last releasing two house tracks under the name J.O. on his own Doldrums imprint, this latest one comes branded with a rather conspicuous "Joy O," a move to a perhaps more serious moniker that remains a bit silly nonetheless.
But for anyone expecting another name change to herald another sudden shift, think again. The producer's long-awaited Hotflush release is simply two more unassuming house tracks, like lengthier, uncoiled versions of that Doldrums single. "Wade In" jumps out like parting clouds with a glorious sustained cloud and a sample of some clinking metal that repeats periodically throughout the whole track. It's all polished surface and crystal clear textures until the roughed-up bassline waddles its way in. It's only in the closing bars that a gorgeous melody starts to whisk the song away to piano house rapture, but it's gone a few seconds later.
"Jels" ends in the same heartbreakingly sudden fashion, but has more fun getting there, making copious cowbell use and fully exploiting an exuberant chord progression. But no matter how often these tracks hesitantly tap into pleasure centres, there's something distinctly underwhelming compared to his earlier work. These are basically warmup tracks. Maybe that's his new direction, or maybe that's just J(oy).O., but either way, it sounds like he's still feeling his way around this particular avenue.
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Tracklist: Joy O - Wade In A Wade In