Stuck in a Groove
label: V2 / Sine Dance
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
It's still very very early in 2003, so I'm not
going to go overboard here when I rate this album. Frankly, Puretone's
first record isn't exactly perfect or anything. But I like it
a lot, because it's fun to listen to, and because Josh Abrahams
knows how to stitch together a smooth little quilt of a track.
These 12 songs (plus one hidden bonus remix) are impeccably produced,
laden with hooks, and sound great in the car.
But if you're expecting this to be a "dance"
record just because the songs feature techno textures and a certain
bass-based orientation, you'll be disappointed. This is a pop
album dressed up in dancefloor clothing; most of the songs are
collaborations between Abrahams, the primary groovemaker, and
a few different lyricist/singers. Wise move, this: it takes the
pressure off the main man, freeing him up to construct some kickin'
tracks around three different people's lyrical and vocal styles.
To my ears, the most successful ones are written
and sung by Amiel Daemion; her tracks "Addicted to Bass"
and the title song are two of the most fun pop songs since the
Bangles started to suck. Both songs are about the same subject:
being so into music that your life and personal relationships
suffer, but not really caring about that. (This theme, sadly,
resonates with me.) But while "Addicted to Bass" is
a bangin' faux UK garage track with two of the best hooks of the
year, the latter is more melancholy and introspective, and utilizes
one of the better "hey is the damned CD skipping no that's
just the song okay then" moments I've ever heard. And the
two versions of "Headroom" are nice too, but it's not
Daemion's best song ever.
Less successful are the sappier songs written
by Leigh Kenny and sung by Rhianna Kenny—I don't know who
these people are or if they're related or even the same person
or what, and I don't really care. "Keep On" and "Lift
Me Up" are all inspirational and stuff, but they seem anemic
next to the Kenny-written and –sung "Hypersensitive,"
a jazzy swing colored Downbeat Gold. I kind of like "Echoes,"
with words and singing by one Dianne Charlemagne (the names on
these Aussie divas!), because it gets all dubby and technoey,
but it's blown out of the water by "1 and 9," which
is an instrumental acid jazz piece with real live horns and percussion
and bass and stuff.
Does all this
diversity of style ruin Stuck in a Groove? Well, sure,
if you've got a huge stick up your butt. But those of us in the
No-Stick Club don't mind, because we're too busy listening to
what might end up as the fun dance-pop LP on a lot of people's
year-end lists for 2003. 01-Feb-2003
liked Stuck in a Groove...
1. (Intro) Thrillseeker
3. Addicted To Bass
4. Keep On
6. Stuck In A Groove
7. A Linear Model
8. Lift Me Up
9. Breakup Song
11. Headroom Reprise
12. 1 And 9
13. Bonus Track 1