Review Summary: It's okay 2013, you can dance now.
After a three year wait and a considerable level of label drama, the completion of a new album from these two veterans of German dance music seemed contentious. Recently, it’s come to light that the duo nearly became two singles in the process, which would have left us with a criminally brief discography struggling since the excellence of 2006’s Movements
. Inspiration was happily found in Manchester’s vintage recording studio Eve, resulting in what can only be described as one of the most cathartic dance records in recent memory as Booka Shade find peace and restitution in the hypnotic waves of German techno.
The best thing is all this depth comes as a bit of a surprise, since Eve
can be likened to an actualisation of Arcade Fire’s recent attempt at making a double album. The first half kicks off with six flawless examples of dancefloor-ready techno: infectious grooves and creative percussion are dressed up in dense horn blasts, trumpets, vocal samples and a myriad minute variations to make tracks impossible to stay still to. With no-nonsense, unstoppably uplifting single “Love Inc.” leading the charge and “Perfect Time” already doing the rounds in my local Bristol scene, Booka Shade would appear to have made one of the best dance releases this year.
I’d say it was wrong, but the statement holds true despite the step the duo take on track seven. For no reason, it seems, Eve
leaves the club, takes the organic and analogue components of the first half with it, walks home and crashes out on a bed with them to make deeply contemplative, relaxing electronic love for 30 minutes. Even when picking up after the almost completely guitar-based jam of “Time’s On My Side,” the rolling techno grooves are hypnotic as opposed to the earlier, less intimate explosion of catharsis. One would imagine plenty of deep eye staring and intense clutching was involved.
Take “Only When You Wake Up” as an example. It seems slow, submerged, with a dampened beat and hushed up female cries. Like the rest of Eve it sticks to the idea of an emotional outburst but the track explores sadder, more subdued ground. At the same time, we get these interesting sub-bass kicks and synth jabs which give it a sense of urgency and emotion. It’s in no way a dance track, but “Only When You Wake Up” is intelligently mesmerising while also leading perfectly into the final two tracks which both continue on this more experimental path.
It would perfectly fit the narrative for the first half of Eve
to have been made in the duo’s turmoil and the second to come from their moment of inspiration, but truth be told it’s impossible to say for sure. Despite the confusion, we’re still left with an album kicking off with some of the best dance tracks of the year and following up with a second half evocative enough to knock you off your feet, which is hard to refuse.