No Such Thing

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As dance music's retro loops get tighter and tighter, it's becoming difficult to determine who is being retro and who is still keeping it real from the first time around. As a decade-old purveyor of primo house music, Swag definitely falls into the later category. Swag's music has always taken heavily from the garage and disco movements of New York, while maintaining its own electronic current. Still, newcomers should be easily forgiven if they think that "Wire Me Up" is a retro shot at digital disco ditto-ism, with its robo-voice and archaic bleeping melodies. The same disco strut files through a majority of the album, although the electro influences are usually left behind. "The Party's Over" is an organic mélange of percussion elements that steadily thump, snap, and clang away on top of dirty synth bass, while "Minidisco 2" samples heavily from a hard drive full of wah-wah guitars and warm synth chords. "Where I Belong" is a traditional stab at vocal house-R&B, with singer Nesreen Shah going with an obvious yet engaging pop chorus. There are several other stylistic diversions, making No Such Thing anything but redundant as an album. But as a house recording circa 2003, everything on here is easy to reference. Whether it's the junkyard honk on "Just One More Thing" or the Perlon-esque jack of the routinely titled "I Need a Freak," it's lucky for the members of Swag that they are so good at beats so routine.

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