Bump & Grind

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If how much you enjoy this Belgium duo's second album could be charted on a graph, where X equals your tolerance for experimental sounds while Y inversely measures the degree of overwrought dramatics that Bump & Grind injects into each individual cut, then the resulting curve (which ignores the indulgent soundscapes that buffer each proper track) would definitely be a bell, although its orientation would of course depend on the listener's disposition. The first two trials, "Intuition Outerspace" and "Mellow Tek," plod along with stubborn mechanized downtempo beats layered with dusty strings pushed to the edge of a comfortable timbre and synth swirls that stumble over the line of melodrama. Far more pleasing are "Refresh Rate," with its bubbling markers and minimal shuffle, and "Pan Odyssey," which sounds like a Latin festival overheard through the steel piping of an underground tunnel system. The curve peaks (or bottoms out) at the tech-house strut of "Nowadays Instant Plug," with its low scraping melody jesting atop a slippery beat. But the new resolve falls back to old ways on the two guest remixes by Scanner and Third Eye Foundation that close this disc. A shame, since Bump & Grind had seemingly figured out a winning formula.

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