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Posted on August 25th, 2015 (12:00 pm) by Ali Van Houten

You might be shocked to hear that Versions is only Idjut Boys’ second full-length album. After all, the duo of Daniel Tyler and Conrad McDonnell have been collaborating since the late ‘80s, when they first met in the club scene of North London. Initially observers of disco legends like DJ Harvey, they soon decided to dive headlong into the opposite role and began putting on club nights, producing and DJing their own music around the world, and ultimately launching three separate labels: U-Star, Noid and Droid. These labels served as soft-DIY enterprises, vehicles that facilitated freedom of choice in their releases. Now, they’re putting out their own music on Norwegian indie experimental label Smalltown Supersound. Versions pulls tracks from throughout Idjut Boys’ career, bringing their signature dance floor disco and avant dub to prominence after decades of renown in the club scene. The album alternates uplifting steadybeat with guitar-induced ambience, proving the boys’ mettle as household names in the electronic music game.

The album opens with a wavering, atmospheric guitar riff, but you can skip to track two if you want to get to the clubby jams Idjut Boys cut their teeth on. The cool, measured “Kenny Dub Headband” shows they’ve still got it with nearly ten minutes of captivating rhythms and pounding basslines. “Dub Shine” continues the party with some uplifting disco and the first glimpse of the female vocals heard throughout the album. Similarly, “Le Wasuk” is a classic Idjut Boys tune, albeit a more creative one that slowly builds up to the steady disco heartbeat that epitomizes their typical sound.

Much of Versions combines nu-disco stylings with ambient and more traditionally acoustic sounds. “Lovehunter Dub,” for example, features a lengthy, almost Afro-beat percussion section. And the updated disco groove “Going Down,” a star track on the album, is a fun, danceable electronic song that also incorporates a guitar rhythm. Meanwhile, “Another Bird” showcases Idjut Boys ambient style in a long, rambling synth-heavy track built over a foundation of rock-style basslines.

The music on Versions is surprisingly bland in comparison with 2012's Cellar Door. Where's the funkiness of "One for Kenny," the atmosphere of "The Way I Like It"? Versions doesn't have the cohesion of Cellar Door because it's a vault collection, and a long-awaited one. More than twenty years of production means there's potential for some good leftovers, but it also means that the artists aren’t necessarily pushing themselves. All in all, Versions is what it was set out to be: versions of old tracks. This album, long in the making, affirms Idjut Boys musical identity, but it offers nothing fresh to set them apart in the canon of contemporary music, or even their own discography.

Track List

  1. Ambient Rab
  2. Kenny Dub Headband
  3. Dub Shine
  4. Another Bird
  5. Going Down
  6. Lovehunter Dub
  7. Le Wasuk
Idjut Boys Versions
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

55 / 100
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