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Record Rating: ***

Mattafix - Signs Of A Struggle - EMI Until the early 1990s, there were virtually no acts that mixed electronic dance music with hip hop and dub erratica. The success of the sound was exemplified by The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Moby, making them pop stars in their own right. It has since become the norm for mainstream electronic dance music. Condensed with urban dub oscillations and scatological dance beats, new comers Mattafix’s first effort Signs Of A Struggle is a fresh take on the tired genre.

They’ve been making circles in that music community ever since their first single Big City Life hit the record shops last year, and after listening to their album it’s easy to understand why. With nods to everything from Nirvana to traditional raga, hip-hop to old Bollywood, the fourteen tracks document the sound of the ever-changing urban scene. Marlon Roudette and Preetesh Hirji shutter with eclectic samples and montages, giving life to an album full of rap and raga emanations.

The album kicks off with Gangster Blues, a synthesizer-fuelled dance juggernaut, takes off with their latest single To And Fro (which features former Sugababe Siobhan Donaghy) before slowing things down with Everyone Around You, their bittersweet ode to young love. A seemingly permanent fixture on the Asian dub scene, their predecessor Talvin Singh puts in a guest appearance with his tablas here as well, giving his seemingly support for the duo. The Forgotten turns the issue of homelessness into a funky pop track, while Older seems to voice their political views with rhymes like 'Is leadership the same as treachery?'

There are more filler tracks here than strong singles, and lots of moments in which they sound more like over-earnest music students than the future of Asian dub. But first effort, it’s good for a couple of spins.

Read our other reviews:

Damien Rice - O       Daniel Powter - Daniel Powter       Santana - All That I Am       Shakira - Oral Fixation Vol: 2      


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