20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Groove Armada’s Black Light by JohnCassillo

Groove Armada's sixth album is a positive adjustment for the band

PREVIEW: VISIT Groove Armada’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

It took over two and a half years, but Groove Armada’s Andy Cato and Tom Findlay have finally revealed their new sound with Black Light. The group’s sixth studio album features heavy 80s dance beats mixed with low-key lyrics. In comparison to previous albums, Black Light contains a new songwriting style while also maintaining the flair that fans have come to expect.

The British musicians didn’t do it alone, though—all of the 11 original songs on Black Light boast an impressive list of guest artists. GA works with SaintSaviour and Nick Littlemore four times over the course of the upbeat, tell-all album.  Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry collaborates with the musical pair on “Shameless.” The track combines French-speaking seduction with a more lax sound and less vocals than other songs on Black Light. Coincidentally, Ferry’s Roxy Music was named as one of their inspirations for the release, among other artists like Friendly Fires, Klaxons, Ladyhawke, LCD Soundsystem and MGMT.

The MGMT influence becomes obvious on Black Light’s second single “Paper Romance.” The track, released in late February, pairs pop-like lyrics with a groovy beat to form a great dance track. The first single from Black Light, “I Won’t Kneel,” was released in late November and features SaintSaviour. Paired with “History,” it’s made apparent that Groove Armada seriously tried to channel their inner David Bowie on sections of the album.

Black Light’s lyrics are all very straightforward and give the listener insight as to what Cato and Findlay have been up to since 2007. The messages behind “Fall Silent,” “I Won’t Kneel” and “Paper Romance” leave no question as to what the band is trying to say with the effort. The dance-loving duo couples honest lyrics with a variety of musical styles. “Not Forgotten” starts out as a hip-hop tune and then progresses into indie rock backed by a dance beat, while “Just for Tonight” is a techno symphony with a hint of The White Stripes.

Though it may take some time to warm up to it, Groove Armada’s Black Light appears as a perfect way to translate 80s pop music onto the current scene. From your run-of-the-mill dance tracks, to synth-laden techno trips, it displays ecstatic, club-worthy pop to a tee.

–Dana Rose Falcone

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