Medicine8
:ironstylings
Regal
2002
C+

it’s fitting in this long, hot summer we’re experiencing over here, probably the hottest since records began (today was certainly the hottest day ever, as Gravesend near London hit 38.1 centigrade) that acid should be making a comeback. Craig David and the School Disco phenomenon (be glad it’s a distinctly English affair) may have killed off clubbing, kids may be buying guitars instead of 1210s again, The Chemical Brothers, Underworld and Orbital may all have lost sight of what started them off making music in the first place, Leftfield might have thrown in the towel and hollow chancers like Futureshock may be being touted as saviours, but the underground is keeping things alive in a refreshingly funky, squelchy, anti-crap way.


The toughest tracks on The Rapture’s forthcoming Echoes long player are much more in debt to 88 than 78, Luke Vibert is poised to drop a kicking acid renaissance record (succinctly called, I believe, I Love Acid), and at least one track on the long-awaited forthcoming album by Bark Psychosis features a sublime acid line. But predating all of this is the no-nonsense house of :ironstylings, Liam and Luke May’s debut LP as Medicine8 from last year.


From the off it’s clear that :ironstylings is about one thing and one thing only: dancing. This is pure lost-in-the-K-hole stuff, with massive, foursquare repetitive beats that are sure to upset the local council underpinning everything like a malevolent groovebox robot. “Oxygen Seeds” starves you of air with a stupidly simple bass line before dropping in a moment of beatless houseadelica which allows you to catch your breath back. “Mystery Murdered” has the same kind of obvious linear intent as Orbital’s classic and seminal “Chime,” making it clear within the first bar that it can only have one possible destination before heading there by the most ruthlessly direct route possible, winding back through itself with a proficiency not heard on UK dancefloors in far too long.


“Capital Rocka” is the big single, an irresistible slice of funky house with the most deliciously epiphanical bass-entrance after two minutes of tantalising build-up and a chant that I’d call dancehall if I didn’t know better over the final third.


Sample-spotters will be kept happy looking out for snippets of Isaac Hayes, Kurtis Blow, Afrika Bambaataa, Scream 2 and even Lou Reed popping up here and there, while those of us with a less anal disposition will simply be happy to have our fucking arses shaken mightily. The opening track may be called “Speaking Music, Fucking Music”, but it’s beautifully apparent that really :ironstylings is just dancing music, and that’s what we need right now.


Reviewed by: Nick Southall
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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