Thursday, December 07, 2006

The rise and fall of Soulwax

What has happened to Soulwax?

"Who?" I imagine you saying.

Soulwax. They released one really, really good album in 1999 and haven't achieved anything like the quality of it since.

'Much against everyone's advice' is one of my favourite CDs. It is one of those rare things: a genuinely cross-genre album, mixing rock guitars, pop melodies, great harmonies and contemporary (for 1999) dance music into a fantastic, yet hard to define, musical experience.

Their next release was completely different. The guys in Soulwax also were club DJs with a talent for mixing two songs together in a not-aurally-horrible way. They mixed several compliation CDs in this manner, most of which have never been officially released. 'As heard on Radio Soulwax: Pt 2' was given an official release, but I quickly realised that this was not a proper Soulwax recording, just some DJ dance music cleverly mixed together. Not really my kind of thing. Although I must say the mix of 'Dreadlock Holiday' by 10cc and 'Independent Woman' by Destiny's Child, slowly morphing into '9 to 5' by Dolly Parton is an inspired work of genius.

The next release as Soulwax, 'Any Minute Now', came in 2004. It was dull. It was boring. The dance beats and rock guitars were there, but there was a total lack of memorable melodies and quality pop hooks. Poor show.

But, I hoped, this was a temporary setback. Surely the next proper Soulwax release would be better?

No its not.

I got it ('Nite Versions', look carefully at the pink CD cover and you might just about make out the writing...) out of the audio library last week and have listened to it twice. Pure mince. And I don't mean that in a good way. Still dance music. But no decent melodies and the guitars are now lacking. Sigh.

Apparently there is a hard-to-find CD from before 'Much Against...' maybe it'll be good. But I'm not going to invest too much effort trying to find it.



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