Fusing hooky pop with dance instrumentals is a technique employed by many a wannabe innovator, but few can have ever done so in such joy-sapping style. Akase, the new project from producer Harry Agius – who has previously issued a series of appealing house tracks as Midland – and vocalist Robbie Redway, appears to be an attempt to move beyond the dance world and into a more mainstream consciousness. While the pair clearly have a knack for churning out catchy vocal lines – the melodies of tracks such as Borderlines feel familiar from the very first listen – Redway’s vocals tend to slide into an ersatz soulful drone, and the polite percussion and soft but relentless bass buzz that trundle beneath can render the songs miserably airless. Pairing that with lyrics such as “Another day of my life has gone / Another day of my life has turned to dust” (from lead single Rust), and this album feels like it’s actively trying to stop people getting out of bed in the morning.
Rachel Aroesti is a writer specialising in pop culture