Hot Natured's first go at pop was 2011's "Forward Motion" (included here), which pasted a passable vocal on a boilerplate Jamie Jones beat. This approach is common throughout Different Sides Of The Sun. Ali Love has a decent voice, high and reedy in a '90s R&B style, but he's not a skilled singer; his hooks can sound forced, and he often seems out of his depth. Regrettable tracks like "Isis," "Tightrope" and "Physical Control" still sound like the token vocal attempts you get on some dance records, rather than earnest efforts at pop songwriting. The lyrics are weak, too: "Giving me a smile / That's the inverse of crying" is embarrassing, and few of the other songs fare any better.
Ali Love isn't the only voice here. Egyptian Lover has a completely out of place cameo, Anabel Englund provides a welcome (if only serviceable) female counterpart, and then there's Roisin Murphy, who completely steals the spotlight. She only appears on "Alternate State," but her performance stands tall over every song that isn't "Benediction." The core group do get up to some good on their own: with a refrain that will get stuck in your head for days, "Planet Us" is a strong contender for a single, and "Detroit" has a warm and sanguine disco feel.
But those are just a few highlights on an LP otherwise weighed down by mediocrity. During the lead up to its release, Different Sides Of The Sun seemed poised to be a masterstroke of pop crossover. In execution, however, it's more pandering and clumsy than it is clever.