Booka Shade More!
Sometimes less really is more. Where Booka Shade‘s highly acclaimed second album, Movements, epitomized the […]
Sometimes less really is more. Where Booka Shade‘s highly acclaimed second album, Movements, epitomized the duo’s low-key, approachable beats and dappled, warm synth melodies, the German tech-house producers’ fourth full-length intends to provide exactly what its name suggests: More! In this case, cohorts Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger mean more energy, more ornamentation, and more friends along for the ride. The resulting album, which has been 18 months in the making, is certainly more complicated, although not more sophisticated than previous work.
Hoping to capture the mood of their famously energetic live performances, the boys departed from their trademark clean studio electronic instrumentation and added textures of live drums, extra-thick layers of ambient synths, and quirky accents. Plucky, infectious instrumental “This is Not the Time” comes closest to Booka Shade’s usual subtly cultivated melodic journey. Meanwhile, “The Door” opens with promising warping bass and a driving beat before running into a hodgepodge of spoken samples, ratcheted percussion, and new-wave synths that never really gel.
Adding to the distracting flurry of decoration, More! also features a handful of guest vocalists—a first on a Booka Shade album. Peculiar meandering female vocals set against marbled synths on the pretty “Regenerate” fall nicely into the song’s overall balance. On the other hand, the vaguely Faithless-reminiscent “Divine” features spoken contributions from new-wave kings Yello, and Chelonis R. Jones’ pop vocals combine with cheesy synths on “Bad Love,” leaving the listener longing for Booka Shade’s deceptively simple instrumental melodies of yore.