Midnight Funk Association

Coffee Shop Rules

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The debut full-length from Mark Broom and Dave Hill's MFA project -- six years after the alias first graced Mo' Wax's Headz II project -- is an intriguing collection of downtempo, refreshing not just because it's so immaculately produced but also because it forsakes the earthy breaks nearly every other downbeat act seems obliged to thrust onto the masses. Coffee Shop Rules is a gloriously chilling -- not chilled -- record, with darkwave melodies and heavily reverbed beats creating an air of approaching menace. The opener, "Melody," is especially nice, paced by a lurching yet devastatingly precise series of claps and beats and a slowly shape-shifting synthesizer melody. "Last Time" and "Special R" have the razor-sharp percussion and Schwarzenegger-in-The Terminator paranoia of bygone early-'90s heroes Black Dog and Reload. Also included is a three-years-after mix of the 1998 single "Sexy Way."

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