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    Heartbeats 8 ( 2010 )
    The Through the Night / Can't Shake This Feeling / Runaway / Fashion / Power / Cybernetic / Heartbeats / Turn It Up / Want U / The Really Long One / LA Lights / Someday We'll Be Together

    Leeds based Scottish electro talent Grum shows Calvin Harris how it should be done. What I like about this set of electro disco is the apparent simplicity. Graeme Shepherd doesn't try and show off, he isn't saying 'look at me'. Indeed, his remixes are as well known as his own material. The brilliant sunshine pop of 'Can't Shake This Feeling' is a case in point. This isn't your regular DJ, disconnected from his audience. This track is simplicity in itself, a repeat vocal refrain, soulful female vocals during the verse to open, a very eighties kind of feel yet with modern(ish) production. Four minutes long and you want to play it again. It's such a happy track to listen to in the summertime. Squelchy sounds abound, deep melodic bass lines. What's not to like? It arrives after the first seconds of 'Through The Night' makes you think a vintage 80s Lionel Ritchie song is about to come on. A treated vocal sounds alternately like a soul singer and then, disturbingly, like Phil Collins. The synths then come in, very nineties/noughties dance and everything is just put together so satisfyingly well. It's about dancing, yes, but it's also about the song. What a refreshing change to find a dance/DJ type guy working in isolation being able to put together proper actual songs. 'Runaway' meanwhile is so eighties it's hilarious. It's got all those Sinclair Spectrum type sounds yet once again, you've got to admire the way it's been put together. This isn't a 'look at me, i've got a boxfull of samples' instrumental, or a 'look at my fat basslines and thuddering dancefloor arms in the air moment' that sounds so predetermined it may as well not exist. No sir, this is what you might call 'proper'.

    His take on Bowie's 'Fashion' together with his own 'Power' and 'Cybernetic' are rather more traditional noughties dance fare than I would have liked before we reached 'Heartbearts', a track some in the blogosphere have called the best track of the 21st century. Can't quite reach that conclusion myself, i mean, it doesn't do anything new, it doesn't say anything. Still, it is pretty good dance fare all told, loads of enticing beats and a very simple (again) 'heartbearts, heartbeat' sampled vocal refrain. It's like Technotronic, S-Express etc never stopped existing and actually got hip. Meanwhile, 'Turn It Up' sounds like the best audition a DJ/Producer ever did to work with Madonna. Madonna should sign this guy up, pronto! He can recapture her eighties best whilst still sounding contemporary enough for it not to be labelled a total excersize in nostalgia. A couple of dull tracks including the possibly misconceived ballad 'LA Lights' and then the closer, 'Someday We'll Be Together'. It's music you feel that must have featured somewhere in every cheesy feel good eighties movie ever made but is that a bad thing?

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