Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Steve Gilmore Reviews: Mancini - Chemical Imbalance

Hear The Track Here

Although I only met him a couple of months ago, Mancini is banging the tracks home as if there were no tomorrow. This is my third Mancini track in as many months, and seeing as he hails from the musical city of the moment (Sheffield ya dummy!), I suppose I'd better have a little recap. Overall I liked Use Your Noodle (January 2006) for the way it incorporated electronica and electric guitar in a way that worked and worked well, prompting me to say this is an artist to watch. I even gave Area 39 (February 2006) a Highly Recommended for it's high energy dance approach noting that both tracks had a surprising toughness of sound and maturity of ideas that merited more attention. So what's he got in store for us this time?

Chemical Imbalance is much more electronica than the previous tracks and definitely strays into a danger area for yours truly. In my mind, for something to work on in the electronica genre, it better have something that drags it out of the normal whine and bleep infested swamp that sours most electronica for this reviewer. It's been a bit of a Mancini so far to deliver tracks that are seemingly straight forward then inject something completely unexpected into the mix. Successfully so far, I might add, although I must admit to having reservations about this tracks strength that have continued right up until the time I come to write this review. I KNOW millions of people love this stuff, but they ain't reviewing it, and I feel that - as good as Chemical Imbalance is - it could have been better.

Technically it's fine, and exactly what I would have expected; the mix is strong and the production values of the previous tracks still apply. Where it falls down - for me - is in it's delivery. It SHOULD be strong but somehow isn't. Yes, if I play it LOUD it works, but when I sit and listen (OK, take it apart then...) it loses whatever impact it may have. The more I listened, the more I found that to be the case. It could well be that I am getting too blase about all this because I hear so many good tracks over the space of a year but for something to really stand out, it has to be better than a good electronic workout; it has to have a depth that this track just doesn't have. Moreover, there is a softness to the track (whether that is to do with the muffled kick or not I don't know) that is offputting, especially in those crucial, off key string sections. I do like all the various technical tricks Mancini brings to his work, but that alone cannot rescue this track, as bravely as they try. Good fusion of a couple of styles that may perk your interest once or twice but not - I fear - grow into something you would want to take home to meet Big Momma Hard Drive.

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