Sometimes you gotta take off the reviewing hat (we all have one, standard issue from the Reviewers Guild and Associated Union of Random Scribblers , edible so you can eat it, obvs) and just play something loud.
This is that. Dutty Moonshine Big Band are big, daft and enjoyable. They’re apparently electro-swing, a genre that guarantees work in Europe and minor cult status in the UK, but they hide it well, and may even bring new fans into the genre.
Electro-swing is as it sounds: a big band sound on electronica kit, but Dutty Moonshine are more akin to dance in one of its more flamboyant phases, lots of colossal, heavy-bass synth. Colossal doesn’t really do it justice; it’s like saying a Chieftan tank is a souped up panel van.
Big Band Fam opens proceedings with a solid four to the bar dance beat then bass synth, marching snare and repeated lyrics. Way down is a swing sound but there’s big synth and grime to the fore. It’s a bit over the top and daft but fun. “You’ll remember us now … Oi! Oi! Big Band Fam!” is about as analytical as the lyrics get.
Click Clack Boom is next and it’s Rob da Bank on da radio at 5am, an opening record aimed at clubbers just getting in and early risers just waking up: slightly soulful while proving that waiting for the drop has not quite had its day.
City Of Sin brings some fast rapping before Outlaws, the first time a clear electro-swing sound comes to the fore, soon buried beneath vocals, synth and brass. It’s pretty clever, swing with a place somewhere in the European genre while being club enough for England; there are hints of wedding disco choreographed dance moves in there, too.
Fever is next and clearly electro-swing, with jazz brass and some nifty acoustic work. More lightning fast vocals will probably ease UK listeners into the swing. The bassy synth has gone, and there is proper singing, too (they’re an eight-piece and feature brass, keys, drums, digital hardware and vocalists).
Tommy And Loretta is a gentle song, a spoken word poem / story, almost of the type Dan le Sac / Scroobius Pip might create. It’s the regular tale of boy meets girl, boy changes his life to get girl, they fall in love, his family gets jealous and guns her down like a dog, she shoots him. Sounds more fun than it reads, and it has a big chorus; a bit of an epic tune.
Fall From Grace kicks off as electro-swing and baritone sax, turning into a classic Ibiza dance track. Quality control is high, too: track eight, The Arrest is one of the best on the album.
A fun album, one to party to or even just cheer you up from lockdown blues. Just play loud.
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