A quick and dirty collection of old-school box jams.
By "quick and dirty," I don't mean to imply that Slap Happy is half-baked or half-assed. I get the sense from listening to these succinct cuts—most of the tracks clock in under five minutes—that Edwards can crank out tooly drum loops like these without laboring too much over the details. It's one of his strengths. Tracks like "Buckeye Beats" feel visceral and immediate, as it's able to evoke a strong mood and maintain a sense of progression with just a few percussive elements doused in delay. Barebones drum tracks like "Firehouse," which make do with one or two melodic elements, are the work of an artist who knows who they are and what they're good at. A less confident producer might give up on a track if it feels unfinished or too simple, but Edwards knows when he has all he needs.
There are a few more elaborate, song-like efforts here, particularly "Rock The Place" and "Slap Happy." Both of them work with classic house themes—piano chords, strings, horns and a "Can U Feel It"-style bassline on the former and euphoric, synth-pop stabs, choir pads and 727 congas on the latter—that prove Edwards can make a happy hook, too. But somehow the stripped-down and unsettling "Nitemare House" is the real catchy hit here, even though it's mostly a drum track with one lead sound. It has the most memorable earworm—a male vocal that intones "You die" and a female voice emphasising the point with the occasional "You die when you die."
This off-the-cuff approach makes Edwards' work feel unpretentious and casual. Slap Happy isn't a statement album meant to encompass and present his artistic vision. It's focused on one specific idea: odd machine drum-laden loops inspired by early US house. That leaves listeners to explore his already extensive discography if they want a complete sense of what he's all about.