If you want to make an immediate impression with your new record, there are worse ways of doing so than starting it with a track that sounds like it strolled casually off The Avalanches‘ seminal 2000 album Since I Left You. That is, unequivocally, how ‘Be Happy‘ comes across, and BTOS Vol 4, in general, is an agreeable collection of smooth grooves like sunshine on your back as you glide across the dancefloor.
Many times, you will find yourself sitting up and thinking “hang on, I KNOW that song!” – sometimes you will be able to figure out where the ideas and samples came from, and other times you will be left scratching your head. But even in those moments, you still find yourself marvelling at the level of creativity in the clever updating of some of these numbers to the extent that they now sound not only like authentic old school soul records, but also feel modern enough to appeal to the masses, regardless of age.
There is a room for humour too, ‘Stand By‘ containing what seems like an equipment breakdown, and a message of reassurance that “Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by“, before continuing with the still jumpy, scratchy melody. Bizarrely, this doesn’t grate, in fact it feels very human and actually strangely relaxing. Maybe that is the best word to describe BTOS Vol 4 as a whole, as you shimmer blithely through life until the record reaches its dreamy conclusion with ‘Subway‘.
Latest single ‘Love Is All Around You‘ (don’t worry, it’s not yet another take on the old Troggs classic) is the musical equivalent of misty eyed nostalgia, and somehow impossibly romantic, while ‘Because I Really Love You‘ is like Dionne Warwick‘s version of Burt Bacharach‘s ‘Walk On By‘ and throws its head on your shoulder like a younger sister in need of reassurance after a break up. ‘A Story For You‘ is an interesting one too, as though someone has cut out the backing vocals from a track by a sixties girl trio and spliced them together with excerpts from an eighties hip-hop record.
Bright and breezy, and capable of giving us all a warm, fuzzy feeling inside (which, to be fair, this album regularly does achieve), The Geek x VRV never outstay their welcome, with almost half the tracks not even exceeding two minutes, let alone three! There isn’t much variation, but hey, when you’re enjoying the dream, do you really want to wake up?
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