Freemasons - Unmixed

Whatever happened to the term "handbag house"? It's a perfect label for Freemasons' style, describing that not-quite-credible form of dance music loved by Bacardi Breezered up ladies (and possibly some gents too) out on the pull, at best straddling Now That's What I Call Music territory and Hed Kandi. "Oh, stop being so snobby," I can hear you shouting.

In actual fact, Unmixed is a better record than you might expect. Production duo Russell Small and James Wiltshire are never less than able at what they do, which in the world of cheesy dance is a compliment. Previous hits Watchin and Love On My Mind are examples of what they're good at: big, soulful disco tunes about (should you require an analysis of the lyrics) bad blokes and moving on, the kind of thing you might find yourself humming when your brain goes into standby coz you've heard them on the radio a million times.

Freemasons stick to their strengths mainly, so there's thankfully no branching out into drippy ballads. It's telling that the most "surprising" song here is current hit Uninvited, if only for the fact that it was penned by Alanis Morissette. No matter what you think of it, the fact is it could have been a lot worse. And the tracks that haven't been singles? Rest assured, they all sound like singles.

A word of caution, however. More likely to alarm trendy clubbers than Freemason's MOR approach to dance is Pacific, which begins nicely before turning into a homage to the sacred cow that is 808 State's Pacific State. Still, if you have enjoyed Freemasons singles so far, wish Stonebridge would hurry up and release another album (anyone?) or just need something to listen to while getting ready on a Saturday, you're unlikely to be disappointed by Unmixed.

An enhanced section includes loops and a cappellas for DJ use, plus some extra mixes in MP3 format.



out of 10
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