For Deadbeat fans, it was an uncomfortably long wait after Journeyman’s… to this year, when two Deadbeat 12-inches hit the stores. Surprisingly, both are much more techno-oriented than dub, a new direction for Deadbeat. Unfortunately, however, the results on ‘Take Me Back to London’ are a bit mixed.
Which is not to say that any of the tracks here are bad. In many ways just the opposite is true. The A-side ‘Heathrow Express’ is a dub-tinged techno tune that does a nice job of reflecting the feel of polished surfaces, easy sophistication and hidden menace that seems to permeate London. Unfortunately the title might be a bit too apt—the monotonous, unreliable experience of riding British railways sums up perfectly a tune that hits the mark in terms of tone, but then ends up not really going anywhere.
Same for B1 ‘Bubble and Squeak’, which has some of the free-toned, improvisational feel of a track like Guillaume Coutu Dumont’s ‘Sous L’Arbe’, but ends up gliding by without coming into its own in a memorable way.
B2 ‘The Heckler’ has more character. It starts as very early morning, upsetting minimal, before, at the behest of a voice imploring “Why don’t you play something nice for the morning?”, it switches to pleasant, hymnal synths. These two elements vie with one another until the track peters out, leaving the track feeling a bit unfinished. It’s a witty concept, more or less, but executed completely.
As you’d expect from Deadbeat, every track here is expertly made. But all seem to lack one thing or another musically, meaning that it’s not quite up to Deadbeat’s usual standards.