Friday, August 29, 2008

FDF Volume 2: Issue 106 - The Stereo MC's - Connected

Album - Connected
Artist - Stereo MC's
Key Players - Rob (Robert Birch), The Head (Nick Hallman) and Owen If (Ian Rossiter). Backing vocals by Cath Coffey, Verona Davis and Andrea Groves.
Produced By - Stereo MC's and Al Stone

Release Date - January 12, 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I think it started when I read a review for their new cd and I, like many, said "they are still around eh?". I also mentioned them 1-2 FDFs ago in the Jesus Jones post.

Overview - Released late in 1992 (and then early 93 in the US) the Stereo MC's stuck a chord with audiences on this, their fourth release. The album would spawn four singles with "Connected" being the most widely known. The band would tour for the record and gather even more momentum. The band, a group of perfectionists and "not wanting to repeat themselves", would wait almost 10 years before their next studio album would be released. In 2000 the British magazine "Q" placed "Connected' at number 52 on its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums ever.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The lead off single and probably the most recognized Stereo MC's track "Connected" opens the record. There is really not a lot I can say that you probably don't already know. Opening with a "whistle" the track "Ground Level" gets rolling. A strong bass and sampled loop lay the foundation on the track. The female vocalist sign high parts and the lead vocal track is rolled from male to female for a nice touch. Each gets their own solid solo breakdown as well. Starting with low bass and a spoken word sample roll up "Everything". The female lead is very uptempo for the first minute or so of the track before the male lead takes a quick fast rap like route. There is actually a flute interlude (sampled or not) it fits really well on the solid break before verse two. The lyrics and overall feel are slower on "Sketch" while "Fade Away" has a strong bass groove to it. The lyrics here are quick with a lot of call and response going on from the female singers. They slow it down some once more on "All Night Long". There are a lot more percussion instruments with a big false ending placed at the right time before the loop grove comes back. A single keyboard line opens "Step It Up" with a strong horn sample. The bottom loop on this track is infectious. See for yourself in the download portion. We get an even deeper groove on "Playing With Fire" that gets a nice touch from the wah-wah guitar parts. The vocal delivery is slightly slower than other tracks giving it a soulful sound. Another track with a really strong back beat is "Pressure". There a few randomly strewn about keyboard notes over the top of the track. The track also has a more "live drummer" sound to it as well. "Chicken Shake" has another great groove to it although it keeps the heavy break beat sections. This track is totally instrumental. A lot of "oooh yeahs" start of "Creation" which is a return to form. The male/female vocals are given at a good clip and the flute portion returns once more. This track has the fastest vocal delivery of any track on the album. A hockey arena organ sound brings up an album stand out "Don't Let Up". The females sound great on this track and this is one of the true gems of the record. The album wraps up with the aptly titled "The End". It is a slower grove but still has a heavy bottom to it that even infuses a saxophone solo.

Where are they now?
- The Stereo MCs are still active today both in the studio and as a live touring act. Their most recent full length album "Double Bubble" was released in July of 2008 in America.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I did see the Stereo MC's live two times. In a headlining slot it was on July 16, 1993 at the Paradise in Boston. The band was terrific with their electronic vibe filling the room. The second time was as a support act for
Jesus Jones on the same "Connected' tour.

FDF Overall Take - If you are looking for a fun record that sort ot mixes Electronica, Pop, hip-hop as well as a few other genres this is a rewarding listen. Granted the band might rely a lot on samples in a live setting there are instruments played to fill the void. This band might not be for everyone, but the single, as well as other tracks are easily recognizable and easy to get you going. If it is not your thing, that is cool too.

Their official site and myspace page are one in the same.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3s have been removed. They were
Don't Let Up
Step Up

All the tracks are from "Connected" which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 9:29 AM, Blogger JamieSmitten said...

I lost this cassette(!) to a breakup. Definitely well rid of the boyfriend, but I still love some of these songs.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

I was all over this album one summer. Man, this brings back some memories! I remember the video with the singer doing this fake half step (looked like he was going to step on the camera - and the audience)


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