Looked at from the perspective of future years, Bizarre Inc.'s debut album was such a fun, varied album that it seems impossible that it never achieved wider notice. Given the tendency toward neo-ambient on the one hand and the incipient hardcore/jungle underground on the other, when it came to modern electronic dance, though, Energique found itself lost between two camps. The trio's kicky, funky house/techno stylings just connect perfectly, though; audiences enjoying the likes of Basement Jaxx won't have anything to complain about here. The group's two big single hits are unsurprisingly among the highlights. "Playing with Knives (Quadrant Mix)" has a wonderful squelching lead hook, leading into the mid-song shift to vocals and piano effortlessly. The two elements trade off for the rest of the songs, mixing tradition and futurism just right, a blend also explored on songs like the Sterling Void-sampling "Plutonic" and "Agroovin." "I'm Gonna Get You (Original Flavour Mix)" is the other noted smash, with great diva vocals from Angie Brown (one of her earliest star turns) and a simple but still sweeping string section reminiscent of disco's orchestrations at their best. Brown does another good vocal turn on the similarly-arranged "Took My Love." Eon helps on mixing a good chunk of the album, including the two opening cuts. "Raise Me (Ascension Mix)," a great get-your-body-moving starter, has a simple, effective hook and a fine sense of up and down dynamics, while "X-Static (Adult Mix)" is a lower-key number that still keeps everything going just so. Things get a touch carbon-copy towards the end where a little more variety couldn't have hurt, but "Delicious Minds" is a nice way to wrap things up nonetheless. Light in tone, a bit like a more carefree early Orbital in sound, it concludes Energique well.
by Ned Raggett
|6||Bizarre Inc. feat: Angie Brown||Amazon|
|8||Bizarre Inc. feat: Angie Brown||Amazon|
|9||Bizarre Inc. feat: Yvonne Yanney||Amazon|