Fort Romeau's Mike Greene took a while to follow 2012's Kingdoms with another album; instead, he honed and expanded his music via a series of EPs and remixes, including several releases for Ghostly and its sister label Spectral. Insides, his first full-length for Ghostly, reaffirms just how far he's come from the Kingdoms days: while that album proved he already had a strong knowledge and respect for old-school, Chicago-style house that the Stay/True and Her Dream EPs built on with flair, here he opens up his music with sharper edges and richer moods. "All I Want"'s immediate, irresistible beat proves that his dedication to house is as strong as ever, but throughout Insides he enriches it with nods to disco and kosmische that make his music feel even more complete. Dublin disco purveyor New Jackson appears on the darkly glamorous "Not a Word," which makes its vocoder sound downright sultry, while "IKB"'s sweeping pads and chirping birds make it the serene dawn following "Not a Word"s nighttime escapades. This more eclectic approach, along with a renewed focus on composition, was inspired by Greene's DJ gigs, and Insides' ebb and flow sound vital on or off the dancefloor, thanks to the confident use of space and creatively applied momentum. As much as the album's beats push forward, Norris keeps the scenery around them interesting, whether he leads with swirling textures and a mysterious melody on "New Wave" or lets subtle builds and drops trail after an almost palpable kick drum on "Folle." Even on more contemplative moments such as "Lately," Insides sounds invigorated, while more dramatic ones like the effervescent "Cloche" and the title track's disco-house odyssey prove the album has plenty of momentum from track to track as well as within each cut. Spacy yet grounded, cosmic yet physical, Insides is a satisfying journey and Fort Romeau's finest music yet.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares