Don't forget to rate this album at the end of the post (something I'm trying out)
Last Gang Records
out October 6th
Boys Noize’s sophomore full-length effort, Power, finds Alexander Ridha expanding his palette, for better or for worse. The German DJ, whose name is often found (and rightly so) alongside such heavyweights of electro music as Justice and Daft Punk, strays slightly from the abusively focused push of Oi Oi Oi to create something more disparate, meandering, and still undeniably driving.
Power begins with “Gax,” a track reminiscent of “Shine Shine” off of Oi Oi Oi, but more exploratory, and frankly more interesting. In fact, it is easily one of the most melodic tracks Ridha has put out, held together by an intro, bridge and outro, which muse about in Lydian in what is (for the typically efficient Berliner) an uncharacteristically unrushed fashion. Notably, the melody is pushed to the forefront in a way that sets the stage for the album’s defining feature—an increased use of melody and harmony to push the narrative.
A standout track in this regard is “Jeffer” which mirrors the structure of Boys Noize’s earlier work but manufactures tension with the harmonic material more than with the rhythmic tension that marked earlier tracks. That’s not to say that Ridha has given up his earlier sound. He frequently reaches back into the same dirty, grinding set of tricks as in his previous work. The beat-compressing squeal of tracks like “The Battery” from Oi Oi Oi can still be found in Power, but with greater restraint and subtler purpose. On “Transmission” for instance, there are breaths of air in the arrangement and contrasting melodic material that show a greater maturity on Alexanders Ridha’s part, and a desire to do more than push a head-pounding, floor-shaking agenda.
However, if you were fine with Boys Noize’s agenda from the start, you will not be disappointed. While not as potent as its predecessor, Power still delivers earnest and forceful dance music, brash and insistent. The full-length effect of the album is not as cohesive as Oi Oi Oi and at times wanders away from the pulse, with interesting, though inconsistent results. “Trooper” shakes the speakers with a crunch of boots and grime, opening with a march cadence and slamming triplets for almost six minutes—a satisfying change-up midway through the album. “Kontact me” and “Nott” play their experimenting a little too close to the vest and straddle the old Boys Noize and the new, doing neither too much justice.
At its best, Power combines Boys Noize’s signature dance floor drive with his newfound melodicism to create something refreshingly creative. If Oi Oi Oi had one fault, it was that “refreshing” moments were hard to find amidst the album’s manic push. It was singularly abrasive and effective, both to its credit and its detriment. Ridha has rounded his sound out slightly, and while he has sacrificed a bit of the edge of Oi Oi Oi, the result is more mature and the variety is welcome. At it’s worst, Power is a bit unfocused an unsure in its new harmonic territory.
Power ends dreamy but dirty, “Heart Attack” doing its best to combine the album’s many elements in muted form, from industrial noise and metallic squeals to dreamy pads, hums and slides, all providing the bedding for a bell-like melody that epitomizes Boys Noize’s evolution in this album.
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