Friend - HotRod
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Friend
HotRod
(Dot)

I hadn't heard much about either this group or this label, but decided to take a chance on it after hearing little snippets of different songs out on the web somewhere or the other. Once I got the disc and listened to it, I found that I had made a wise decision, filling a nice little niche in my collection with a long disc full of happy, listenable tunes.

If you've ever heard Plug's Drum and Bass For Papa, you might have kind of an idea where these guys are coming from. Instead of ever getting very hard and really snapping the snares too you, though, they tend to keep you drifting in smooth breakbeats and kookie old school loungey sounding stuff like the lighter stuff on the Plug disc and without as much frenetic drums.

The disc starts off with a funky, 10-minute track that begins with a little laid-back quiet beat, some eerie sound effects, and a funny little keyboard line that sounds like it could have come out of the theme song from "Three's Company." Soon, the slow beat drifts off and that late 70's/early 80's sound is married to some unobtrusive breakbeats. Although it might go on for just a tad too long, its a great combination of sounds. After a couple more fairly mellow tracks, the group goes at things a little more on "Rennaisonance." That same playful feel is there, but a driving low-end and super-slick drum track kick things up a few notches. Fittingly enough, the next song on the disc is called, "Kites (Are Nice)." It moves along with a nice, hip-hoppy sort of beat and sneaks in some more of that spiffy keyboard action before morphing into a drum and bass track.

The album actually takes sort of a darker turn on the song, "Crank," with it's darker sounds and a decidingly more sharp beat than usual. That feeling only lasts for one track (and the beginning of the next) before again shifting back into lighter territory with a nice little montage of chimes over the stuttering beats. The album closes out with the very-light "Thanks for the Cookies." This time, the breakbeats start from the beginning, but the only other main part of the track are a couple nice little melodies that drift over it all. It's a nice, smooth final track to round off the long journey.

Overall, the disc is very solidly put together and probably falls kind of inbetween the afformentioned Plug album and some of the more mellow drum and bass work by LTJ Bukem and the like. While it does tend to get a little on the repetitive side at some points, it's light and never really gets in your face too much, and does do a few things to help set it apart from the rest. At 10 tracks and well over 70 minutes, none of the songs are short, and the fact that they're all mixed together is very beneficial to the overall mood the disc creates. D + B lite, possibly.

rating: 6.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00