Review Summary: An unashamedly no nonsense garage release, Sepalcure's long awaited debut LP triumphs on just about every level
was the little dubstep album that could, that genre defying triumph that drove so many outsiders to it like moths to a flame and showed the world just how impressive a grass-roots movement could be, then Sepalcure’s self-titled LP quite rightly feels like this decade’s answer to that rather impressive monolith. Sepalcure already has the online community eating out of the palm of their hands, thanks in no small part to some rather remarkable EPs that signaled the return of a much more intelligent strain of garage more efficiently than Lazarus arising from the grave. Their rather unique take on dubstep is the kind that eschews brains over brawns, more interested in flexing its creative tendencies over any cliched stereotypes than your favorite mis-informed friends might be able to conjure up when thinking of the genre. And it’s that album that the dubstep community has been waiting for, that one unifying landmark that might actually hold the power to rid the world of such ingratiating buzzwords like “future garage”, “bass music”, and the always good for a laugh, “post dubstep” (here’s looking at you Pitchfork).
And while Sepalcure
possesses all the apparent character traits of those imaginary genres (“apparent” because there lies no clear description for the terms mentioned, which I suppose makes them a prime candidate to have such an amorphous prefix like “post” attached to them), it’s still a decidedly familiar album, steeped in the storied history of a genre now well into its second decade of existence. Praveen & Machinedrum have reached back into the garage timeline, borrowing heavily from the backlogs of such landmark imprints as Tempa, Tectonic and R&S and liberally applied them to their own gestating template. Smacks of the genre’s milestones pierce through the thick veil like flames that deny being snuffed out, from the gluttonous and sprightly 2-step of opener ‘Me’ through to the wonky and syncopated ‘Eternally Yrs’ (a track that begins like a smoky bedroom jazz ballad before reverting to a more skitterish and deliberately obtuse beat that ends up challenging any beliefs you may have had about so-called “bass music”).
Despite mastering in the same brand of futuristic club anthems as the majority of their brethren on Hotflush, Sepalcure’s seems fresher and more invigorating than most that have come before it. Chords are rapidly injected into the fray and removed in a similar fashion, separating the music from falling into any kind of repetitiveness. They balance shades of footwork with ghostly early 90’s house and yet tease out both influences to the point that it sounds completely new, like rave reborn. And then there’s the moments where they slip (however briefly) into those scenes completely; the buzzing electro cuts that threaten to turn ‘The One’ into the dancefloor nightmare that it aches to be, or on ‘See Me Feel Me’ that taps into the ever expanding world of the LA beat scene (WEDIDIT collective anyone?) with its jittery percussion and breathless and twitching vocals that seem to wander around the patchwork, deliberately out of reach. They even try their hand at gutterball grime with the manic and swaggering ‘Yuh Nu See’, that begins menacingly but then slowly morphs into a reflective hip hop inspired conundrum.
exists as an uptempo garage emotional release, or as a slow motion house swan song, you get the feeling that something important is happening as the album slowly goes through its various iterations and motifs. A tying off of sorts, where all these various descriptors and broken genres are all being bought together under one unifying banner. Whether this album ends up being the
album of the decade for the world of garage and dubstep like Untrue
did before it, or if it simply ends up being just another
in a long line of experimental and acclaimed urban dance efforts one thing remains certain, Sepalcure have delivered fully on the promise they made on Love Pressure
. Their anti-rave anthems have simply improved beyond what anyone could have possibly hoped for, and Sepalcure
is set to turn a lot of heads, in and outside of its constantly argued over genre.